Ministry of Power12-January, 2015 19:23 IST
Modi Government is Committed to Provide Affordable and Clean Power 24x7 for all

Speaking at a seminar “Sustainable Energy for All ” on the sidelines of Vibrant Gujarat, in Gandhinagar today, the Union Minister of State for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, Shri Piyush Goyal said that his government led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is committed to delivering 24x7 power for all. This requires significant augmentation of energy generation, effective transmission and distribution system and finally efficient consumption. At the same time, he reiterated that commitment to economic development and concern for environment, go hand in hand.

Energy for all is at the centre of all plans. India is enormously energy starved, since average per capita consumption is just a tinge over 900 units per year versus Gujarat at 1,800 units and developed countries at 15,000 a year. 280 million people in 56 million homes are bereft of any electricity whatsoever. Further, a large number of people who are connected to the grid, receive sporadic and inconsistent electricity in many states of India. He hoped to make a long-lasting, transformative impact on the lives of millions of fellow Indians.

In the last 7 months, since assuming office, the govt. has focused on increasing production of key inputs for power generation. The action plan for doubling production of Coal India Limited to 1 billion tons in 5 years is ready. His Ministry is tripling exploration, investing $1 Billion for 250 additional rakes and expediting evacuation (particularly, 3 critical railway lines which can evacuate 200 million tons). Within a month of the Supreme Court's judgment cancelling 204 coal blocks, the centre promulgated an ordinance and the auction process has already begun in the most transparent e-bidding format. This will help in augmentation of domestic production and go a long way in eliminating the need to import thermal coal, at great cost to the exchequer. The govt. has also initiated a coal linkage rationalization exercise to link plants with their nearest coal mines to ensure minimum transportation of coal, unclog railway network, reduce ash related damage to the environment and pass-on the savings of approx. $1 billion to the consumers. The first swap has already been completed between Gujarat and NTPC-Sipat in Chhattisgarh, saving the consumers, particularly Gujarat, $50 million. This idea was received from Saurabhbhai Patel, Minister for Energy & Petrochemicals & Finance, Government of Gujarat. This govt. was going for compulsory crushing and washing of coal, to further minimize ash transportation, and taking up afforestation programs at scale. Beside initiating studies to ensure that rivers stay perennial, wherever a hydro project has been planned or is already in operation.

The minister said the centre was laying_ unprecedented thrust on renewable sources of energy for the long-term energy security of India to meet our commitment to preserve the environment. Thomas Alva Edison in 1931 in conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone said: "We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature's inexhaustible sources of energy-sun, wind and tide. I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that." The govt. has quintupled the solar energy target to 100,000 MW by 2022 and have a clear roadmap to achieve this ambitious target he said. Of this, 40,000 MW will be rooftop solar, where millions of people will become micro-entrepreneurs and sell to the grid, thereby augmenting their income and reducing power bills, since they will only have to pay the "net" amount. Similarly, the govt. is tripling wind power generation capacity to 60,000 MW. India will become one of the principal markets for renewable energy development in the near future. The Unnatchulhaabhiyaan is an innovative clean cookstove programme, which functions on biomass and renewable fuels, and will save women and children from carcinogenic fumes emanating when traditional fuels are burned.

The govt. foresees an investment of over $150 billion in renewables over the next few years. A Renewable Energy Investment Summit (RE-Invest 2015) is being hosted in mid-February to attract such large quantum of investments. The ocean of opportunity ahead for India for clean energy is simply enormous. Shri Goyal said India recognizes that its development programme should be dovetailed with its commitment to saving the environment. The Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has often alluded to our activities causing "zero effect" to the environment. He said Modi is a great proponent of an action-oriented approach to protect the environment as reflected in his book "Convenient Action" penned a few years ago.

India's carbon dioxide emissions are 1.64 tons per capita as against 16-17 tons per capita in many countries of the developed world. Considering the large population, in the aggregate the carbon footprint seems quite big. However, one must appreciate that India is at the cusp of its development cycle taking off and has to rapidly expand its infrastructure, home building programes affordable energy generation etc. Millions of people have to be brought out of poverty and access to education, healthcare and equal job opportunities need to be accelerated. Hence it is essential to calibrate the environment protection program to our development needs, the minister said. Renewable energy sources and energy efficient technologies feature prominently are in the agenda, but "energy access for all" is the first step. Also, from a cost perspective, while the trajectory of renewables looks promising, at present, thermal power is indeed the cheapest source of energy generation. For a country whose per-capita GDP is a modest $1,500, it unreasonable to burden the common man with significantly higher costs in the present, considering the large investments required; while major polluters in the world have not done so themselves during their own development period. The Centre believes it is only fair to have a reciprocal and just arrangement inter-se the developed and developing countries of the world.

Shri Piyush Goyal said, while generation is obviously important, a strong infrastructure in transmission and distribution is equally essential. Unfortunately, this sector has remained historically under-invested. The government has launched two flagship schemes - the Deen Daya lUpadhyay Gram JyotiYojana (DDUGJY) and Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), with central government grants of $18 billion.

He added, DDUGJY was inspired by the pioneering initiative of the Gujarat Government (Jyoti Gram Yojana). It will focus on feeder segregation in rural areas, proper metering of usage and strengthening sub- transmission & distribution infrastructure including replacement of suboptimal and burnt out transformers, so that farmers receive adequate power and rural homes and small-scale industries receive 24x7 power. Moreover, remote villages with small population will also be connected to the grid, where feasible, or will be provided power through off-grid and micro-grid solutions powered by renewable energy.

UM/SD/SP/JK/MP/GP
(Release ID :114557)