The Modi government will double the country’s coal and power output in five years by encouraging private sector mining, ensuring fuel supplies to power producers and enabling them utilise their full capacity, power and coal minister Piyush Goyal said here.
Talking at the World Economic Forum summit here, the minister said he has set a target of making the country power surplus by 2019 although by that time, power demand might have also been doubled to 2 trillion units. This would offer investors a $250 billion investment opportunity, he said.
One of the means to achieve this output growth is by doubling coal production to a billion tonnes in five years from 500 million tonnes now.
Goyal said 5.3 crore homes in the country were not yet electrified and that many factories were operating on diesel power units, addressing which is a priority for the government.
The government will therefore take steps to increase power plants’ access to fuel supplies and improve their capacity utilization. Improving the electricity mix with greater focus on renewable energy sources is also on the agenda, he said.
“This government is sincere in giving power to all and this government will protect investments as we go forward,” he said.
The Minister said the e-auction of coal blocks announced recently through an ordinance would encourage private sector participation in the coal sector.
Goyal said that he has set a target of 100 gigawatts of solar power generation by 2022, multiplying the UPA government’s target fivefold. The minister appeared cautious on nuclear power saying that the US and many European countries have discontinued installation of nuclear plants.
“This government would like to be cautious that we are not being saddled with something only under the garb of clean energy or alternate energy; something which the West has discarded and is sought to be brought to India.”
The Minister stated that efforts were on to improve the bankability of projects in the power sector. The Minister stated that the government was planning to invest US$ 250 billion in the power sector over the next five years.