Transmission projects worth more than Rs. 50,000 crore would be up for bidding during the current fiscal to increase power evacuation capacity in the country, Power Secretary P K Pujari said. “Transmission projects worth Rs. 50,000 crore would be auctioned. It could be even more than this during this fiscal,” Pujari told reporters at a CII conference in New Delhi. He further said: “Last year (2015-16), we bid out transmission projects worth over Rs. one lakh crore out of which Power Grid Corp got projects of Rs. 56,000 crore and Rs. 35,000 crore were awarded to private sector (on tariff based competitive bidding).” There has been healthy growth of the transmission sector during the 12th Plan (2012-17). After April 2012, India has added 90,000 circuit kilometres of transmission lines and 2.72 lakh MVA of transmission capacity.
The auctioning of transmission projects assumes significance in view of government’s ambitious target of adding 175 GW of renewable power capacity by 2022. “The share of renewables in energy mix, which is 6 per cent at present, will go up to 40 per cent by 2030. That will throw a huge challenge in the (area of) grid operation. It has technical implication for the grid,” Pujari said. About the Power System Development Fund (PSDF) scheme for providing subsidy to power plants for buying imported gas, he informed that the government is weighing various options and will take a call in 2-3 months. The PSDF scheme was sanctioned for two financial year till March 31, 2017, to revive stranded as well as other domestic power plants running at sub optimal levels (capacities).
“At present, we are looking at various options of policy for gas-based power plants of about 25,000 MW of capacities. Whether we will do (continue) PSDF or not, that is not very clear but we are looking at options where we can provide assured gas supply to these plants without PSDF support at reasonable price,” Pujari told reporters. He also said that for bidding conditions (requirement under PSDF), the Plant Load Factor is 30 per cent minimum. But this time it may be increased to 60 per cent. That means the plants getting gas supplies to run their plants at 60 per cent of their generation capacities would be eligible to participate in the scheme.
On the GST impact on power sector, he said: “There is uncertainty about GST. We have set up a committee. Ministry of Finance has asked ministries to set up a group to look at the likely impact of GST on their sectors. We have told the group to get the feedback of all the players so that when actual formulation of GST takes place, we should be able to present our case.”