Thursday, June 18, 2015

India's Ambitious Power Plans

Via BRF, this outline of India's planned power sector growth:

The government has not announced how much power is required to ensure 24 x 7 supply to all Indian households by 2019. But in its reports it talks of an addition of more than 200,000 Mw of power capacity in eight years by 2022. This is more than three-fourths of the power capacity added by the country over six decades.

To put this 200,000-Mw target in perspective: In the 11th Five-Year Plan, India added only about one-fourth of it. The addition in 2007-12 was 54,964 Mw, against a target of 78,700 Mw.

The 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17), prepared under the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, had planned to add 118,536 Mw. Of this, 51,795 Mw was added in the first two years of the Plan, while the remaining 66,740 Mw was to be added by 2017 . But the current government hopes to double this and add 115,603 Mw by 2017. From 2017 to 2022, the government aims to add 101,745 Mw.

This means the power added in three years from 2014-17 will be more than what will be added in the five years after.

Even this unprecedented target may not be sufficient to meet the requirements for a 24x7 target, as the government report acknowledges, noting, "these assessments have been for the purpose of transmission planning, and not for assessing generation capacity required for meeting the demands."
 Most of the added power generation will be coal.

India's dependence on coal could have been reduced if there was clarity on how gas production would ramp up. But the state Plans reflect uncertainty on this front. The Andhra Pradesh Plan notes that 2.5 mscmd of gas is being supplied against a requirement of 13 mscmd, just enough for 500 Mw, leaving 2,270 Mw of capacity stranded. It does not clarify how much gas supply it will get in the future. The power ministry calculated that 14,305 Mw of gas-based plants were left stranded in the April 2014-January 2015 period . The government has formulated a new scheme for import of gas to ease the mess in the sector.

The other potential source of energy, large hydropower, locked up in issues of litigation, displacement and environment, has grown at a much lower rate than expected . Only 5,544 Mw of hydro power was installed during the 11th Five-Year Plan, against a target of 15,627 Mw. The government is pushing states in the Northeast to cancel memoranda of association with private players and hand over hydropower projects to the public sector.

Even as the NDA government disentangles the hydropower sector out of the mess, it has given a thrust to the emerging renewable energy sectors, setting a 100-Gw target for solar power and a 60-Gw one for wind power. The rate of growth it desires is unprecedented. But the government is not inclined to formally announce these numbers as official targets under the UN climate change agreement, to be signed in December 2015 - an indication that these may be more aspirational than real.