India cannot stop the use of fossil fuels completely from its energy basket as it has development imperatives in the near future, Power Minister Piyush Goyal has said. He was of the view that it is important to strike a balance between the conventional and renewable sources of energy and rapid societal development and environmental concerns. Goyal made these comments in his address to ‘Energy Conclave, 2016–Securing India’s Green Future’, organised here yesterday, according to a Power Ministry press release. He noted that it is of prime importance to achieve the goal of ‘One Nation, One Grid, One Price’ at the earliest and to create a robust transmission grid network where affordable power is seamlessly available to the common man throughout the nation, at one price.
The government has raised the solar power target five times to 100 GW by 2022, he said, adding that the prices of solar energy have come down by 40 per cent in just 18 months. Moreover, he said, concentrating on other sources of renewable energy, this year has been dedicated to hydro and wind energy and talks with international gas suppliers are on. Citing example of large hydro power projects like Teesta and Subansiri, Goyal expressed concern that these projects have been experiencing severe time and cost over runs in the past due to various issues.
The government, he said, is taking all the required steps to fast-track the operationalising of these projects at the earliest so that investors, both global and domestic, do not get a negative signal on the prospects of investing in the hydro power sector. On initiatives in the Coal sector, he said the ministry is collaborating with IITs and research labs abroad to develop state of art technologies like clean coal technology, carbon capture & use, coal to gas & coal bed methane technologies, inter alia. Besides, he said, the ministry has stopped the repair and maintenance of old thermal power plants and is concentrating on building super critical power plants in future.
Goyal said the ministry is in talks with PSUs like BHEL, NTPC and other private sector power generators on taking various measures to reduce coal imports and achieving criticality in plants designed to operate on imported coal, by making design modifications to enable use of abundant domestic reserves of coal.