The distribution sector reforms are crucial for the growth of the country's energy sector and in attracting new investments, according to experts at the CII Energizing South Conference.
S Chandrasekhar, Chairman of Energizing South, said, “The next generation reforms in the distribution sector, aimed at strengthening their finances, will play a major role in reaching out the benefits of growth of the power sector in the country while also helping attract new investments.”
Discoms in the red
“Distribution companies in various States are faced with losses and the only way out is to bring about changes and ensure they become financially strong. This can be achieved by metered connections and bringing down subsidies,” he said. Speaking on the sidelines of the CII conference, Chandrasekhar said, “The country has total installed capacity of 3,40,000 MW but the peak demand indicated by the CEA is about 1,60,000 MW, and yet we have many pockets where the entire population does not get electricity. A number of thermal, hydel plants have become old and are functioning at low capacity and need to be changed or upgraded. This calls for huge investments.
Growth in renewables
There has been unprecedented growth in the country's renewable energy sector and the capacity has gone up from 34,000 MW in 2013-14 to 70,000 MW in 2017-18. Of this, 22,000 MW is accounted for by the solar energy sector. While the government has set an ambitious target of 175 gigawatts of renewable energy, it calls for development of supportive transmission and distribution systems to reach out, he said.
Ramesh Kymal, Chairman, CII, SR Power, RE and Infrastructure Committee, said, “The MSMEs have missed out on taking part in the recent auctions for development of the wind and solar energy projects. This needs to be looked into and addressed as they form the backbone of the economy.”
K Vasudeva Rao, CFO of Greenko, said, “We have come out with an innovative model where one can hybridise use of wind, solar and hydel projects and supply power. This would enable us to address the challenges renewable energy projects pose to the reliability of supply in system.”
Sujoy Ghosh of First Solar said, “The southern States, where the company has interacted and set up projects, have been good at ease of doing business. The distributed development model of setting up of solar power projects in Telangana has been innovative and addresses the challenges of the grid.”
Vikram Kailas, Managing Director of Mytrah Energy, said, “The battery back up for renewable energy sector could happen faster than we can think. There could also be boom in use of electric vehicles sooner than we could potentially think it is possible.”
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