Ed­i­tor's Note

Power Watch India - - NEWS -

In Bud­get 2017-18, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley an­nounced a se­ries of mea­sures such as 20 gi­gawatts (GW) of so­lar ca­pac­ity ad­di­tion, so­lar­is­ing about 7,000 rail­way sta­tions in the medium term, higher spend­ing on ru­ral elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, two new strate­gic oil re­serves (in Odisha and Ra­jasthan) and lower im­port duty on liqui­fied nat­u­ral gas (LNG).

Ru­ral elec­tri­fi­ca­tion: The Fi­nance Min­is­ter said full elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of 18,452 vil­lages iden­ti­fied in 2015 will be achieved by May 2018, for which an ex­tra Rs 4,814 crore will be spent in the next fi­nan­cial year. The bud­get doc­u­ment said that out of the to­tal un-elec­tri­fied vil­lages in the coun­try, around 61.4 per cent or 11,327 vil­lages have been elec­tri­fied till De­cem­ber 2016. A sum of Rs 8,500 crore has been pro­vided for Deen Dayal Upad­hayaya Gram Jy­oti Yo­jna (DDUGJY) and In­te­grated Power De­vel­op­ment Schemes (IPDS) of which Rs 5,448.03 crore was re­port­edly re­leased in De­cem­ber 2016.

So­lar: Over the last two years, the share of so­lar in the coun­try’s en­ergy mix has been grad­u­ally in­creas­ing and the in­dus­try has man­aged to drive tar­iffs down from Rs 12 a kwh in 2010 to a low of about

Rs 3 in 2016. It is felt that the govt should en­cour­age in­dige­nous man­u­fac­tur­ing of so­lar pan­els, as per the Make in In­dia cam­paign, so as to re­duce de­pen­dence on im­ports by ex­tend­ing spe­cial con­ces­sions to do­mes­tic man­u­fac­tur­ers so that they can over­come con­straints such as lim­ited man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­i­ties and high cost of fi­nanc­ing. Here low-cost fi­nance op­tions can go a long way in pro­mot­ing the so­lar panel in­dus­try. Also to achieve the tar­get, there are ma­jor pro­grammes that in­volve canal tops, so­lar pumps, rooftops etc, and maybe here we could take a leaf out of in­ter­na­tional ex­am­ples of so­lar roof tiles and so­lar roads and maybe use so­lar pan­els along the vast na­tional high­ways that tra­verse across the many states of In­dia.

Oil con­glom­er­ate: An­a­lysts feel that the govern­ment’s move to merge state-run oil PSUs into a sin­gle en­tity will en­able the com­pa­nies to with­stand in­ter­na­tional volatil­ity in the oil and gas seg­ment. The in­te­grated pub­lic sec­tor oil ma­jor, it is said, may match Rus­sia’s Ros­neft and UK’s BP Plc in terms of mar­ket value and fi­nan­cial power.

In terms of the re­new­able en­ergy (RE) tar­get, in Oc­to­ber 2016 RE made up 15 per cent of In­dia’s in­stalled elec­tric­ity pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity, up from 13.1 per cent in Au­gust 2015, as per govt data. To achieve its tar­get, In­dia must add 130.76 GW of RE over the next six years, an av­er­age of 21.7 GW per year or three times the ca­pac­ity it added in 2016. So it is to be seen if 2017-18 be­comes a turn­ing point for the coun­try’s his­toric RE jour­ney and ru­ral elec­tri­fi­ca­tion drive.

R Srini­vasan

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