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Home News Power Sector News Electricity is a tool for development and not commodity - AK Balan

Electricity is a tool for development and not commodity - AK Balan

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AK BalanThe 3rd India Energy Summit organized jointly by the Ministry of Power, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and the Indian Chamber of Commerce brought out the need for having sustainable, clean and cheap power for the development of India. A K Balan, Minister of Electricity, Government of Kerala, said at the Inaugural session of the Summit that Kerala considered electricity “as a tool for development with social justice, and not a commodity for profit.” The demand for power in Kerela is increasing sharply at 14% per annum. The detailed plan to meet this growing demand adequately includes using LNG. The LNG terminal at Kochi will help the expansion of Kayamkulam NTPC project to 1950 MW. The coal Ministry has allocated a coal block to Kerela in Orissa sufficient for a 1000 MW power project.

Speaking at the Inaugural session of the Summit, Shri Sushil Shinde, Union Minister for Power, reiterated the Government’s position that access to electricity for all households and power demand was to be fully met by 2012 as per the National Electricity Policy announced bythe Government. Admitting that the main reasons for delay in commissioning of power projects during the 10th Plan was due to the delay in placement of orders, lack of manufacturing capacity of plants and lack of adequate regulatory controls, Shinde said that thedevelopment of the transmission network has to go hand in hand with generation. National grid with an inter-regional transfer capacity of 20,750 MW has been established for optimization of resources and dispersal of power. This inter-regional capacity will be enhanced to more than 32,000 MW by the end of the 11th Plan. An investment of Rs. 75,000 crores is envisaged in the central sector and Rs. 65,000 crores in the state sector for transmission during the 11th Plan.

Highlighting the challenges that are plaguing the Indian energy sector, Mr. Vishambhar Saran, President ICC said that the poor quality of Indian coal, coupled with a lack of infrastructure to clean it, poses a major environmental threat. Although it is the world’s third biggest coal producer after the United States and China, India’s coal reserves could run out in forty years. The other problem is that of rising oil imports in the backdrop of a volatile global oil market. Oil consumption, which accounts for roughly a third of India’s energy use, has been on the rise in the past twenty-five years. India now imports about 65 percent of its petroleum.

Pointing to the future, Mr. Saran said that there are untapped opportunities in the renewable energy sector. The Government of India recognizes the importance of securing sustainable energy sources, which are currently recognized as insufficient, to support the country's economicdevelopment and increasing energy requirements. At present, India has a 15.2% peak demand power deficit and an additional 300,000 MW capacity is required by 2017.The Government of India has a target of 10% of power from renewable by 2012 and 20% by 2020. Current renewable capacity is at 13,879MW and the forecast is for 40,500 renewable capacity by 2017. Mr. Saran suggested that Banks should be requested for extending greater support to power sector expansion projects,and the time has come to have a regulator to coordinate on issues like land acquisition and ensure a level playing field – something that is nonexistent till date. He also remarked that the auction of coal blocks through competitive bidding was extremely critical, and that apart from harnessing alternative sources of energy, India needs more and more public-private partnerships in ways that attract the needed investment and provide energy services to the consumers at least cost.

With a GDP of USD 1.23 trillion, India is currently the world's fourth largest economy in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms (the GDP in PPP terms is estimated at approximately USD 3.2 trillion)and the fifth largest energy consumer in the world. However, due to its high population of approximately 1.1 billion, the per-capita consumption of most energy related products is extremely low. The per capita energy consumption is estimated to be a very modest 530 Kg of Oil Equivalent (kgoe) while the world average is approximately 1800 kgoe. Mr. Jayanta Roy, Senior Vice President, ICC, voiced the industry’s concern on India’s growing dependence on oil imports in the current market scenario of volatile prices. India now imports about 65 percent of its petroleum. Mr. Roy said that India’s limited domestic gas reserves spell a need for foreign dependency in this sector as well.

The Summit was also a platform for announcing the Power Excellence Award by ICC. West Bengal was ranked first, followed by Chattisgarh and Kerela in pursuing power reforms. The Summit was addressed by renowned experts from organizations like Mr. Malay De Chairman, WBSEDCL, and Vikas Agarwal, MD, Visa Power, amongst others.

Source - PTI

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