"Power will not be an issue in Gujarat. The state will take the lead in the country in the energy sector. We will be adding 9000 MW in the next three years to boost our existing power generation capacity of 23000 MW," said Patel while addressing the inaugural session of a pre-Vibrant Gujarat summit event held at Gandhinagar.
However, he did not clarify if the capacity addition will be done by state utilities or by private power producers. In Gujarat, private power producers currently hold about 60 percent of the power generation capacities, while the state utilities contributes only 26 percent.
In his speech, Patel also pointed out that the lack of gas from the KG basin and the higher prices of imported LNG has made gas-based power projects unviable. "Even in a state like Gujarat, we have a huge capacity of 4000 MW that is lying idle due to non--availability of gas," he said.
The state government is yet to revive the capacity lying idle in the gas-based power plants, even after BJP-led NDA government came to power at the Centre almost four months ago.
"As far as Gujarat is concerned, next six months, to one year, will be tough. The crucial decisions taken by the Centre are equally going to affect the state," he said adding the cost of power in the state could go up in wake of the higher cost of LNG.
Talking about the recent approval granted by the Centre to swap the source of coal supplies between the state-run Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited (GSECL) and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Patel said, "A formal agreement will be soon be made between GSECL and NTPC to swap 1 million tonnes of coal. This will save Rs 350 crore of freight cost that is spent in transporting coal for the state utilities from the Korba mines in Chattishgarh." NTPC, meanwhile, uses the imported coal that lands in Gujarat for its power plants in Chattisgarh.
The minister also said the state government has spent about Rs 10,000 crore in strengthening the transmission network in the state during the last five years. "We have been working hard on our transmission network. The cost of land is going up and in days to come, there could be a lot of resentment among farmers against any land acquisition," he added.