NEW DELHI: As NDA government approaches for its completion of two years in office, the government continues to focus on greater reforms on the power sector. Government to come up with integrated solar manufacturing policy to give fillip to its plan to set up 1 lakh MW of solar capacity by 2022.
Union Minister of State for Power Piyush Goyal said, “If you have to do a 100 GW of solar by 2022, it cannot be based completely on imports. We had set up a committee under Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog. They have come up with a proposed policy which will allow companies to set up integrated solar manufacturing facilities in India. We are giving final shape to that policy. It will soon go to the Expenditure Finance Committee.”
The power ministry has sought a final approval for the amount of support that finance ministry will provide. “The subsidy support will be given out through a reverse bidding process where those interested in setting up such plants can bid for the least amount of subsidy required to be competitive in the market. We will package it with a reasonable assurance of business for the next 5-7 years,” Goyal added.
Ridding on the success of Uday Scheme for revival of debt-ridden discoms Goyal said bonds worth Rs 1.5-1.75 lakh crore are expected to be issued in the ongoing fiscal. “This year, you may see slightly bigger amount. May be Rs 1.5-1.75 lakh crore of Uday bonds will be issued,” Goyal said while highlightng the achievements of his three ministries of Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy in the last two years. Uday bonds worth about Rs 1 lakh crore were issued in the last financial year.
The government is also looking at bringing in some amendments in the Uday programme to accommodate those states which have privatised discoms, he further added. At present, 10 states have already signed agreements to join Uday and 8 states and one union territory have agreed to join the scheme.
“Odisha have requested the Central Government that they would like to participate in Uday and now we are looking to bring in some amendments through the Uday programme,” Goyal said. However, the accumulated debt of discoms are accounted at Rs 4.37 lakh crore.
“UDAY will bring down the cost in the entire eco-system of power, coal, and renewable energy by about Rs1.8 lakh crore every year by 2019 against a business-as-usual scenario. This will make distribution companies financially much better without stressing the consumer with tariff increases. Distributors will be able to buy more power to supply to consumers,” Goyal said.
Under the programme, the states will issue bonds to take on 75 percent of the debt of these discoms and the remaining credit will be paid through state-guaranteed bonds issued by discoms. The scheme was launched by the Centre in November last year for revival of debt-stressed distribution companies.
The government has also committed to provide 24*7 electricity to everyone by 2019. It plans to launch a scheme under which consumers can pay for the new connection in monthly installments over a period of 5 years and will be able to avail the service on demand.
The minister further said, “Poor people get electricity connection free of cost. But for those who are above poverty line, the amount paid for new connection will be charged through equated monthly installments in five years. We are working on such scheme and soon launch it.”
The minister also said the government is working on a policy for reverse auction for wind power projects on the lines of solar power projects, which witness lowering of tariff to below Rs 5 per unit.
At present, wind power projects are awarded on the basis of feed in tariff which is provided by the regulator on the basis of costs of land, equipment and other services.
About the village electrification, the minister expressed confidence that the target of electrifying 18,452 villages will be achieved a year ahead of the set deadline of May 1, 2018. “We will electrify all 18,452 villages by May 1, 2017, a year ahead than the deadline of May 1, 2018,” the minister added.
While Goyal was talking here about the government's initiatives to boost electricity supply in the country, there was an embarrassing situation where there was a complete blackout during the conference.