Ensuring availability of power on a 24×7 basis is proving to be one of the most pressing challenges for the Narendra Modi-led NDA government in New Delhi. However, that does not deter the Indian Prime Minister from aspiring to provide power all seven days a week, 365 days a year and 24 hours a day to every village in the country. The government is making efforts to improve the bankability of power projects and expects that investments worth $ 250 billion will pour into the sector over the next five years to make the country power surplus.

In 2013-14, the country’s energy deficit stood at 4.2 per cent with availability for supply totalling 9,59,829 million units against the requirement of 10,02,257 million units. During the period, the peak power demand stood at 1,35,918 MW, of which the demand for 1,29,815 MW could be met, resulting in a peak deficit of 6,103 MW or 4.5 per cent. The energy and peak deficit during the period April to June 2014 was 4 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively. The country’s total electricity generation in the last fiscal totalled 967.15 billion units against the target of 975 billion units. The generation target for 2014-15 has been fixed at 1,023 billion units.

As on February 28, 2014, India’s installed power generation capacity stood at 2,37,742.94 MW. Power generation capacity of 12,539 MW was added during the period April 2013 to February 2014. The 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017) proposes adding power generation capacity of 88,537 MW from conventional sources and 30,000 MW from renewable energy sources.

India’s demand for power is expected to double in the next five years. Addressing a session at the recently held India Economic Summit in New Delhi, which was organised by the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry, Minister of State for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal said that various measures were being initiated by the government to ensure that power reached consumers. He pointed out that as many as 53 million homes in the country had not yet been electrified and a large number of factories and offices continued to run on diesel generators.

The central government is at present adopting a two-pronged strategy to tide over the power crisis confronting the country. Firstly, utilisation of existing assets is being improved through improvement in plant load factor and stranded assets are being freed, and secondly, access to fuel supplies is being improved. Efforts are also being made to increase the share of renewable energy in the electricity mix.

Goyal said the issue of cancellation of coal blocks was being sorted out by the government through the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Ordinance, 2014, which had been promulgated. He expressed hope that private sector participation in the coal sector would once again pick up. Steps were being taken, he added, to double Coal India’s output over the next five years to help enhance the utilization of existing thermal power plants in the country.

The government was also aiming to boost solar power generation to 100 GW by 2019, Piyush Goyal said.

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