India will experiment with offshore wind power projects and, if found promising, will have state-owned power producers committed to expanding their clean energy portfolio take bigger bets in the segment, said Piyush Goyal, minister of state with independent charge of mines, power, coal and new and renewable energy.
While the share of clean energy in the electricity sector will be expanded, the government is taking steps to improve the quality of the coal mined in the country and is looking at redesigning imported coal-based power plants to run on local coal, the minister said at a discussion on Future of globalization : Can India lead at the CII annual session in New Delhi.
Balancing the need for lowering the carbon intensity of the economy and to deliver uninterrupted and reliable power to every village by 2018, New Delhi has to bank on more renewable capacity and run its conventional coal-fired plants at higher capacity, while modernizing older plants, the union minister said.
“We are open to new things. If needed, we will have public sector companies like NTPC to look into this (offshore wind) segment. NTPC is looking to double its generation capacity from 50 GW. Initially we can look at it as a research and development project,” said Goyal.
India’s intended “nationally determined contribution”, a commitment made at the UN framework convention on climate change in Paris in 2015, is to rely on non-fossil fuels for 40% of electricity generation by 2030.
“Offshore is a very interesting opportunity. Plant load factor (capacity utilization) is higher in the order of 45%. Now, cost has come down and it is viable,” said Sumant Sinha, chairman & CEO, ReNew Power Ventures Pvt Ltd, who was present at the function.
Goyal said the government will take the lead in making electric vehicles viable by providing low-cost finance. The government will also support setting up charging stations. “One could drive into a fuel station and get the battery swapped as fast as tyres are changed in a Formula One race. I need three years to make electric mobility sustainable,” Goyal said.
The government is also working on redesigning coal power plants which are designed for imported coal, to run on domestic coal, which will improve demand for the local fuel, the minister added.