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India is a reliable market for energy, says expert

Nov 09, 2012

Anil Razdan, Energy Consultant and ex- Power Secretary, Government of India, talks to Ashok Kumar about the challenges and advantages of India’s power sector.

OneWorld South Asia: What are the constraints in ensuring adequate power supply in India?

Anil Razdan: At the moment, the biggest issue is fuel linkages for gas and coal. There are enough projects in the pipeline for commissioning provided adequate fuel supply is ensured for them.

In respect of coal, there have been problems related to the supply of the fuel. For those projects, which were ready to be commissioned and were dependent on imported coal, the fluctuating prices were a big constraint.

Nevertheless, India is a very reliable market for energy which can fuel the growth of power production. The country, on one side, has a robust demand for power, and one the other has coal and gas at affordable costs.

OWSA: Of what significance is the issue of equitable distribution of power in India?

AR: The issue of equitable distribution of power is of high significance in this country.  The government of India, seeing that rural electrification has slowed down, started the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (or the RGGVY scheme for rural electricity infrastructure and household electrification), to spurt electrification in the rural areas. 90 per cent grants were provided by the central government for accelerating the pace of the rural electrification programme.

OWSA: Looking at India’s needs, which of the two is more important of the two – affordability of power or clean power?

AR: First is the energy requirement. But, given that availability we would like to go for cleaner sources of energy which would again give rise to the question of affordability.

OWSA: How can deployment of renewable energy help in fighting the problem of power shortage?

AR: Renewable sources of power can be useful in the remote locations where taking the network to supply power would be expensive.

Solar power along with the wind power and the hydro-power can be locally tapped to cater to far flung areas and thus providing them with a viable solution. In addition, in the towns and cities, solar power can be used for the heating purposes.

Integration of renewable energy in the regular power grid by implementing intelligent grid solutions will be helpful in the efficient deployment of power generated from the renewable sources.

OWSA: How, in your opinion, is India geared to meet its power requirements?

AR: In terms of manufacturing, we have enough indigenous energy capacity. Regular fuel availability, good tariff regulations and better performance by distributing companies can show us solutions to some of our current challenges.

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