Minister of State for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal on Friday said India is a power surplus country and has sufficient coal in country to ensure ‘we never have a shortage’, ANI reported. He said, “Today India is a power surplus country. We have sufficient coal in country to ensure we never have shortage of power.” Earlier on Friday, Goyal gave an interview to All India Radio News, where he said the Centre has envisaged growth in the power sector and he is working on a ‘transformative agenda’. “Even after 70 years of Independence there were more than 18,051 villages which did not receive electricity. Modiji had made it his agenda that this will end. Today, there are around 4000 villages left which are still bereft of electricity and this issue will end in the next 6-8 months.”
He said that through the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme, discoms will be able to get power at a decent rate. There is enough production of coal in the country today, he added. There is less chances of coal being depleted here, than in other countries. 35 to 40 per cent of the coal we have is fly ash. So if we transport it, half of it does not have any calorific value. So we have problems while transporting coal, he said. He added that we are certainly self-dependent when it comes to coal in domestic use. Highlighting some challenges in growth in the power sector, the minister said, “We have shortage of coking coal for which we have to depend on imports because the previous government never imagined that we can be coal independent. We have the third largest reserves of coal.”
The NDA government had set a goal of providing electricity to all households by 2019, and Goyal said that PM Narendra Modi is very strict about this. Under the new governement, solar energy and wind energy goal of PM Modi in first three years has seen 370% growth in solar plants. 5400 MW energy is added last year, he said. He also said that the Teesta Water treaty with Bangladesh which was stuck inspite of investment of about Rs 9000 crore, restarted in 2017 March. “Around 1200 MW electricity is already generated,” he added. He said that the costs of solar power has reduced drastically. Now discoms can buy power at Rs 2.40 per unit at times. Wind energy prices too are minimised to up to Rs 3.40 per unit. He said that India is in talks with other countries to solve the issues of transmission and loss during distribution.
Transmission capacity has seen a historic growth, now power is transmitted to Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andaman Nicobar Islands, earlier which was not considered, he added. He also said farmers have been provided with solar power pumps. “We have installed, 1 lakh pumps which work on solar energy already.”