‘Renewable energy targets not unrealistic’

N Ramakrishnan Chennai | Updated on January 24, 2018

Power breakfast Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (independent charge)for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, at the ‘Breakfast withBusinessLine’, in Chennai BIJOY GHOSH

Solar power will be cheaper than conventional forms in the long run: Power Minister Goyal

The ambitious targets set by the Centre for the increase in renewable energy capacity are not fiction, said Piyush Goyal, Minister for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy.

Asked how it was possible to achieve the goal of 100,000 MW of solar capacity by 2022, he said the Centre was banking on innovative ways of financing the capacity addition and drawing up bankable power purchase agreements in this sector.

If this is achieved, the sheer economies of scale will bring the price of solar power down even further. “I am confident it will become even cheaper than conventional forms of power in the long run,” he said.

The Minister was speaking at a lively ‘Breakfast with BusinessLine’ at the Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers. BusinessLine Editor Mukund Padmanabhan led the interaction and moderated the event, which is a platform for an exchange of ideas between people of eminence and the city’s corporate and diplomatic elite.

“We have planned 5X growth in renewable energy in the next five years. It is an article of faith for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India is much more conscious today and all of us recognise that we have to leave behind a cleaner and greener country.”

On the Bill to amend the Electricity Act 2003, which has been tabled in the Lok Sabha, Goyal said he hoped it would be enacted in the second half of the Budget session. Asked about the reservations of some States to the amendment Bill, which separates carriage from content, he expressed confidence they would see the wisdom in changes that will increase both competition and efficiency in the sector. “If one or two States come on board, I think the rest will follow under pressure from the public. This is exactly what happened in the case of VAT,” he said.

Turning to the coal sector, Goyal was keen on dispelling the widespread notion that there is a shortage of coal for power plants. On the contrary, there is enough coal thanks to the steps taken by the Centre, he said; the real issue is who will use the fuel, he added. “My challenge is where do I use my coal. I don’t know where to use the coal if I produce more,” he said.

Improving production

During his 90-minute interaction, Goyal attributed the improved performance in coal production to the continuing efforts by the Narendra Modi government to address this critical issue.

Coal mines cannot stock coal beyond a certain capacity and there is always the fear of piled up coal stocks catching fire. The Minister said he had therefore requested the public sector NTPC to lift more coal so that it frees up stocking capacity for the mines, which, in turn, can produce more.

Also read: Coal production: billion tonne target within sight

Published on March 08, 2015

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