Exclusive Interview: Energy Projects in Asia 'Em'Powering India: An Insiders Perspective on India's Energy Market
Converse with the industry expert – Elaborating on the initiatives undertaken by the Government of India along with the challenges faced and expectations of the power industry in the New Year, President, Indian Electrical & Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA) and Joint Managing Director, Secure Meters, Babu Babel shares his views.
How do you perceive the power segment in India?
Babu Babel: India is the third largest producer of electricity after China and the US. However, we still have about 300 million people in rural India who do not
have access to electricity. Even in some urban areas, it is not available 24x7. The growth of our national GDP and electricity generation is inextricably intertwined. Our per capita consumption of electricity is lower than the world average and far below that of the developed countries.
Today, we need investment in the power sector. Investors are and will be happy to invest in generating plants provided the government makes it easier for them to set up plants, ensure fuel supplies and most importantly, ensure of timely payments for what they supply.
What are the initiatives undertaken by the government to help the power sector?
Babel: The present government has to be given credit for working on the fuel supply problem, it has also launched the UDAY scheme. The scheme is the
financial turnaround and revival package for electricity distribution companies of India initiated by the Government of India with the intent to find a permanent solution to the financial mess in which they are. It is expected to help improve the financial health of the discoms and in turn the power sector.
Apart from this, India has raised the solar power generation capacity addition target by five times to 100 GW by 2022. Hence, solar energy is given the most importance on the government’s renewables agenda. To promote this segment, various incentives such as accelerated depreciation, viability gap funding, interest subsidy, subsidised loans, renewable energy certificates, availability of cheap land and evacuation through required transmission lines have been offered by the government.
Incentives for roof-top solar panels are also being discussed with the Centre. I am not a big supporter of feed in tariffs as it is unsustainable and countries such as Germany, Spain, Australia, etc., had to withdraw/reduce it.