National Electricity Policy

The standing committee on Energy, reviewing the National Electricity Policy, has underscored the point that for increasing new generation capacities, appropriate technology may be considered. It highlighted that in case of hydro electricity, though the potential is 1,48, 701 MW, the current installed capacity is 44,478 MW,or just 30% of the potential. While overall installed capacity of power has increased, running of power plants at lower plant load factor it has fallen from 77.1% in FY10 to 59.9% in FY17 will also escalate the generation cost.The committee has recommended that the govt should make necessary provisions to increase the utilisation of power plants.  The panel has noted the fact that the substantive fall in solar tariff and its very low gestation period is posing a threat to economic viability of thermal power plants. “Presently, solar power is doing the same to thermal power what thermal power did to hydro power. Though growth in solar energy is a good sign for the country, nonetheless, thermal power has been the mainstay of power sector and due to various reasons it’s importance is not going to end anytime soon. Therefore, the growth of this sector needs to be done in more balanced manner wherein various sectors of electricity complement one another,” the committee noted. The poor financial health of discoms continues to be a big concern as their total outstanding debt in FY15 was over Rs 4 lakh Cr. The govt launched the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana for the sustainable financial and operational turnaround of discoms. This is now expected to improve the situation.