1. Home
  2. India
  3. Power Minister calls for private investment in thermal capacity till 24×7 renewables storage is cost-effective – EQ
Power Minister calls for private investment in thermal capacity till 24×7 renewables storage is cost-effective – EQ

Power Minister calls for private investment in thermal capacity till 24×7 renewables storage is cost-effective – EQ


In Short : The call by the Power Minister for private investment in thermal capacity until 24×7 renewables storage becomes cost-effective is a forward-thinking approach. It recognizes the need for a smooth transition from traditional thermal power to renewable energy sources.

In Detail : Calling for private investment in thermal power capacity addition, Union Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy RK Singh has said that the industry will keep getting orders for thermal capacity addition for the next five to seven years in view of growing power needs. Stating that thermal energy was prematurely written off a few years ago, he made it clear that thermal power cannot be written off until energy storage becomes viable and cost-effective for round-the-clock power supply through renewable energy.

Urging the industry to ramp up thermal capacity, the minister pointed out that the industry must be ready for indigenous development of technology and opportunities as assistance from the outside world may be limited.

The minister had conducted an interaction with stakeholders from the power sector on November 21 to review the thermal power capacity addition and hear the problems being faced by the industry. Officers from the ministry of power, state governments, Central Electricity Authority, public sector enterprises (PSEs) under the ministry like National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC), Power Finance Corporation (PFC) as well as other PSUs like Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and industry participants including independent power producers.

With the government aiming to add 80 GW thermal power capacity by FY 2031-32, the minister highlighted that the rate of increase of power demand can’t be matched only by adding renewable energy capacity. He stated that 27 GW thermal power capacity is under construction, and the government has decided to start work on at least 55 to 60 GW of thermal capacity. As per the projections of the National Electricity Plan (NEP) for the period between 2022 and 2032, the required coal and lignite-based installed capacity will be 283 GW by 2031-2032 as against the present installed capacity of 214 GW.

Singh added that states which have thermal power capacity must make sure that it is available and that any renovation, modernisation or life extension for the thermal plants is done in time, making it clear that the central government won’t allocate additional power from the central reserve to states which don’t maintain their thermal capacity.

Singh assured the stakeholders that their concerns will be looked into. Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) vendors like General Electric (GE) and L&T had voiced their concerns regarding the bidding process, while other equipment suppliers had raised issues like shortage of credit in the market, bank guarantees, qualifying requirements and technical specifications. The government has assured that the future power requirements of discoms will be collated and shared with the power developers to ask how much capacity they can ramp up.

Stating that thermal energy is going to stay very relevant even in 2047, Power Secretary Pankaj Agarwal said that India needs at least 80,000 MW of capacity addition from till FY 2031-32 to meet its base load requirements. While he termed non-solar-hours as a serious challenge in light of growing power demand and erratic weather events, he urged equipment providers, vendors and states to gear up for future challenges.

Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network