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'There is rigid monitoring of targets at my level'

By Sanjay Jog
March 31, 2010 13:03 IST
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Despite many hiccups in project implementation, India on Sunday crossed the earlier 10th Five-Year Plan's total addition to generation capacity of 21,180 Mw. The capacity addition has reached 21,232 Mw in the third year of the current 11th Five-Year Plan, or 27 per cent of its total capacity addition target of 78,700 Mw. Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde talks about it to Business Standard. Excerpts:
Is it the highest capacity addition in a Plan period till date?
It's truly a landmark development, of completing in the third year of the 11th Plan a capacity addition of 21,232 Mw, after full commissioning today of the 240-Mw Paras thermal project in Maharashtra. During the 8th Plan, the capacity addition was 16,423 Mw, while it was 19,129 Mw in the 9th Plan and 21,180 Mw by the end of the 10th Plan. Of the 21,232 Mw, about 5,700 Mw has come in from the central sector, 9,612 Mw from the state sector and 5,920 Mw from the private sector.

What's the investment which has gone in?
For the 11th Plan, an investment of Rs 10595.15 billion (Rs 10,59,515 crore) is needed for generation, transmission and distribution. Of this, Rs 5917.34 billion (Rs 591,734 crore) is needed for generation alone. Out of which, an investment of about Rs 850 billion (Rs 85,000 crore) has been made so far to add the capacity of 21,232 Mw. I want to make it amply clear that finance was never a problem, despite the global meltdown.

Was there anything noteworthy in the way the capacity was added?
Power generation strategy focuses on low-cost generation, optimisation of capacity utilisation, controlling input cost, optimisation of fuel mix, technology upgradation and utilisation of non-conventional energy sources. Learning from past experience, orders for the 11th Plan were placed in the 10th Plan itself. BHEL, which has already enhanced its manufacturing capacity to 10,000 Mw, is currently involved in increasing it further to 20,000 Mw by the end of the 11th Plan.

In addition, manufacturing capacity is being developed by L&T-Mitsubishi for boilers (4,000 Mw), Bharat Forge & Alstom for turbine generators (5,000 Mw), JSW-Toshiba for turbine generators (3,000 Mw) and GB Engineering-Ansaldo for boilers (2,000 Mw).

A rigid monitoring at my level and also at the level of the Central Electricity Authority helped to reduce delays in the procurement of plants and equipment. Besides, a committee headed by me comprising former power secretaries also conducts a monthly review to expedite project implementation.

Fuel continues to be a major problem?
There are constraints in availability of coal. However, the generators are resorting to a fuel mix wherein 30 per cent imported coal and 70 per cent domestic coal is used. Besides, gas availability has increased locally and developers are also tapping other sources globally.

Still, the country has to go a long way to achieve the (Plan) target of 78,700 Mw addition. Is it achievable?
India is certain to achieve 62,000 Mw by the end of the 11th Plan. Nearly 50 per cent of the projects are under construction and there are two more years for the end of the Plan. With the best possible effort, the country may add another 10,000-12,000 Mw (to the earlier figure). We have already projected a capacity addition of 100,000 Mw in the 12th Plan.

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Sanjay Jog
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