India being a developing economy has a total installed capacity of around 186GW with contribution from thermal power (65%); hydropower generation (21%) and the rest meager amounts have been covered by Renewable and Nuclear Energy. According to report, India’s average energy consumption is around 750units as compared 2600 units of world. Although India is increasing it s installed capacity but on the other hand losses and other issues are creating another set of problems. An Analogy has been designed beautifully by Mr. Deepak Parekh as “ India’s power sector is like a leaking bucket, in which although installed capacity is increasing but there is a content Demand-Supply gap in Electricity produced to electricity realised.However,India’s Electricity scenario can be broadly studied under the following heads:
India has a vast of pool of resources to generate electricity like coal, natural gas; hydro, nuclear, renewable sources etc.Country’s Installed capacity addition has made a significant jump from 66GW to 186GW in the last 20 years. There are various major drivers to push for increase in capacity like increasing household income, a rapidly growing economy, increasing industrialization etc.In lieu of Generation part, the focus of India is being shifted from non renewable sources of energy (coal, natural gas etc) to renewable sources of energy (wind, solar, tidal, geothermal etc).NTPC is the largest thermal power producer in the country. Although Hydropower plants have long gestation period but still they find a good source of income for the generators because Hydro power plants payback period is quite less. Hydro has a total potential of around 84000MW at 60% Load factor.Moreover, it’s said that Coal based Power Plants are suitable for base load consumption whereas Hydro Power plants are suitable for peak load consumption. Various big Government companies are involved in Hydro power generation in India like NHPC, SJVNL, NEEPCO etc.Although Nuclear Energy is seen as by far the most robust energy producer as it can meet the growing demand of India as whole, but there are various safety related issues attached with. Renewable sources of energy like Solar, Wind, Tidal, and Geothermal are picking up the heat now and India is taking keen interest in utilizing its vast potential of renewable sources of energy. Steps like JNNSM have been taken to promote solar energy and to make it viable for the consumers. As of Dec, 2011 India has around 22.4GW of Installed capacity of renewable energy.
Transmission sector is also doing its part in order to India a self sufficient nation. The motto that was decided earlier as POWER FOR ALL BY 2012 is somewhat on a right track. Earlier whole India was divided into 5 regions like Northern, Western, Southern, Eastern and North Eastern Grid. Then Except Southern Grid, remaining 4 grids were transformed and in to one grid called NEW Grid. Transmission lines capacity have been increased from 400KV to 765KV and now to 1200KVAC line.HCTC (High Capacity Transmission Corridor) has been proposed in various regions In order to distribute power from one surplus region of country to power deficit region. At present, In southern India,HCTCs are taken as a major project as there is power surplus of around 14-16 %.Central Transmission Utility (PGCIL) are taking sufficient steps to increase the transmission capacity of India.
Third pillar of Electricity is Distribution sector. Healthiness of Distribution also plays an important role in the meeting growing demand of energy consumption of India. Open Access has been allowed to all companies who has greater than 1 MW of requirement. Recently Steps have been taken to eliminate cross subsidy charges in order to motivate the Captive power producers. As Demand Supply Gap is increasing on a gradual basis, there is a need to take these types of steps.
Challenges Facing Indian Power Sector
Apart from the various steps taken in a direction of increasing India’s energy sector, there is a gloomy picture of various challenges as well as shortcomings. The burning challenge which India power sector is facing is Coal crisis. As various restrictions have been put by countries like Indonesia, Australia, it has become an Albatross around India’s neck. Although we are crying for Renewable energy but still around 56 % of the power is being generated from Coal only. Moreover, projects like UMPPs also demand huge coal. Stricter environmental norms, land clearances in clearances are also creating much damage to the projects. Water scarcity for various thermal projects has also come into notice and questions are being raised as natural resources being used to the extent of extinction. In transmission sector, Right of Way (ROW) issues are being germinated. AT & C losses are on a high rise. Poor quality of conductors is being used at some places leading to drop in the efficiency of power which consumer gets at the receiving end. There is a lack of skilled and efficient manpower in various sectors of the India power. In case of SEBs, there is some SEBs, no recruitment has been done for the last 20-30 years and leading to high average age in this regard. In case of Renewable energy, the cost of generation is quite high and that’s why power purchases are quite reluctant to but renewable power. Grid Parity has also been a major issue as far as Non conventional sources of energy is concerned. Import of various Electrical equipments from countries like China has also been major factor in increasing the cost of generation as far as renewable sources of energy is concerned.
The Way Forward
Although There is a gloomy picture of Indian power sector But government is trying it’s hard to take sufficient steps to make it to next level and fulfill the demand supply gap of energy for Indian consumers is concerned. India is taking keen interest in promoting renewable sources of energy especially solar energy and wind energy.JNNSM is the step in the right direction to promote solar energy and the recent competitive bidding of phase 2 of JNNSM is a feather in India’s cap.REC as well as RPO techniques are taken to make renewable energy grow leaps and bounds. In order to improve the health of DISCOMs, franchise model has been proposed in order to improve the financial status of state utilities.Bhiwandi model is quite successful and more steps with the same nature are expected to be taken.APDRP as well as R-APDRP implementation norms have been strengthened by the govenrmnet.Although in states like Tamil Nadu there is some discrepancies, but they are meant to be filled soon. Captive Steps are being taken in the road of Captive coal block mining. Various joint ventures have been made successful in order to promote supercritical technology in case of coal based power plants. Rigorous monitoring of projects at different levels of its commissioning by Ministry of Power, Central electricity authority. Central as well as State regulators are taking sufficient steps in order to reduce the AT & C losses and to increase the billing efficiency of the energy being distributed the state utilities.RRGVY scheme is also taking its upfront and reaching to the consumers by and large. Although various steps are needed to be taken but the Crux of the whole thing lies in only one objective for Indian govt. to be POWER FOR ALL in the near future and thereby making India a super power fulfilling its vision 2020.