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Study highlights increased dependence on imported power equipment Print E-mail
Written by Ravi   
Thursday, 12 November 2009
New Delhi: If the Indian power industry has to add 14,000 MW of generating capacities every year, as intended by government, it will have to spend about Rs.6000 crore annually on imports. It is estimated that equipment worth Rs.8000 crore would be required every year to put up power projects in thermal sector.

The report brought out by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India highlights increased dependence of domestic industry on imported power equipment. The domestic industry is only able to cater equipment totalling Rs. 2000 crore.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., the largest equipment manufacturer is unable to meet all demand for equipment with surge in power generation projects under construction.

12th India Power Forum

The Union Power Minister, Shri. Sushilkumar Shinde, while inaugurating the 12th India Power Forum on the theme: Challenges of Mitigating Power Shortage, organized by India Energy Forum, in New Delhi, had expressed concern over inadequate power plant equipment manufacturing capacity in India of less than 10, 000 MW. "This constituted one of the biggest hurdles in our ambitious expansion programmes. With four new joint ventures in equipment manufacturing coming up, apart from the existing BHEL, in five years, the total manufacturing capacity was expected to rise to over 25,000 MW per year," he said.

At the 12th India Power Forum, Shri H S Brahma, Secretary, Ministry of Power had also flayed the private sector for the extremely poor response in Erection, Procurement and Construction (EPC) projects.

While releasing findings of the report, the ASSOCHAM President, Dr. Swati Piramal pointed out that BHEL is scaling up its generator ratings from 500  megawatt to 660 megawatt and even above to meet demand for new technologies and is stated to be planning for making super critical steam generation equipment that improves conversion efficiency. It’s total capacity is also to be raised from equipment 6000 megawatt a year to 10,000 megawatt, meanwhile import will become inevitable as projected above and create huge prospects for investors in power sector especially from overseas part.

This itself reveals yet another area for investors which does not include the expected surge in nuclear power generation capacities to be setup in next few years for which also equipment would be required on a mega scale.

As per current plans set for nuclear power generation of 10,000 megawatt, by 2020 has been raised upto 20,000 megawatt after nuclear fuel deal was signed and could even reach 40,000 megawatt.  The rapid expansion of power sector would also create a huge demand for manpower, points out the Study.

The big push in further (thermal) power generation would no doubt come from the leading public sector company in the sector, NTPC. Its existing generation capacity is a huge 30,644 MW. It plans to add 22,400 MW during the 11th Plan, that is as much as 28 per cent of additional generating capacity would come from this public sector major.

The private sector was to add 10,760 MW calling for an investment of Rs. 43,000 crores. After the recent events that have raised the private sector confidence in government’s determination to fast track and expand power generating (and related transmission, distribution) capacity, and revival of the market conditions, the private sector is now in a big way in this area.

The Chamber has pointed out that India’s first and foremost needs to reduce the cost of generation from the high of 8 to 10 cents per unit as an early goal to reduce costs across the board in the economy. The power sector reforms, properly fashioned and implemented could, like in telecom, is a big step in making growth truly inclusive because the level and cost of energy usage will determine the whole range of issues in the economy of the country.

The Chamber has also recommended a comprehensive electricity production market that pays the full global cost of fuel will help eliminate inefficiencies in the current monopolistic state electricity supply system. Open access must be expeditiously operationalized by each State Regulatory Authority notifying a rational/ reasonable cross-subsidy.  With a competitive electricity sector the increasing trend in the use of diesel Gen-sets could be reversed.

In addition, the Atomic Energy Act needs to be amended to permit private corporate investment in nuclear power, subject to regulation by AERB and AEC.  Rules for private and foreign entry are to be framed.

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