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Cease coal imports, embrace affordable solar, urges Indian power minister

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PV Magazine

India's power minister Piyush Goyal is keen for domestic power producers to cease coal imports as the country attempts to strike a better balance between fossil fuels and renewables. Wikimedia/BharathSampath93.

India’s power minister Piyush Goyal is keen for domestic power producers to cease coal imports as the country attempts to strike a better balance between fossil fuels and renewables.
Wikimedia/BharathSampath93.

India’s power minister Piyush Goyal has called on the country’s power generators to cease coal imports if the nation is to come good on its “One Nation, One Grid, One Price” energy goal.

Speaking at the two-day Energy Conclave 2016 event, the head of India’s decision-making on energy and power stressed that the government will hold a dialogue designed to wean private companies off their reliance on coal imports.

Goyal stressed, however, that India cannot abandon fossil fuels altogether, but is of the opinion that a better balance needs to be struck between renewable sources of energy, and more conventional means.

India’s “One Nation, One Grid, One Price” energy program aims to deliver affordable, robust and grid-connected energy right the way across this vast country, and all at one stable price.

To achieve this, various other programs such as the 100 GW by 2022 National Solar Mission, and the ‘Must Run’ rules that stipulate Indian Discoms give priority status to renewable energy generation capacity when purchasing power, need to be more widely adopted, Goyal said.

In India, he added, government-backed efforts to grow solar’s footprint had helped lower the cost of the technology by 40% over the past 18 months, aided by low-cost Chinese solar modules flooding the market. Mercom Capital expects India to now add more than 4.8 GW of new solar PV capacity in 2016 as a result of these favorable market conditions.

However, PV’s path towards that 100 GW is not without its hurdles, chiefly a reluctance among Discoms to abide by the rules and procure solar power where available, said the power minister. In areas where there has been acute overcapacity of power, solar power has often been curtailed in favor of cheaper power.

Allied to delayed subsidy payments in the states of Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, solar’s seemingly seismic growth could be punctured if such issues are not addressed, Goyal and other experts argue.

Source: PV Magazine. Reproduced with permission.  

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  • Brunel

    There is a surplus of wind power in a coastal state of India: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/how-can-india-avoid-wasting-renewable-energy

    They really need UHVDC transmission lines.

    So does AUS – from WA to NSW.

    • Ken Dyer

      Preferably underground

      • Brunel

        Which nation are you talking about?

        I think the transmission losses are greater with an underground UHVDC line – not to mention the greater construction cost.

        If India has several UHVDC lines and one of them gets cut, the others can take up the slack while the cut one gets repaired.

  • Rob G

    India can look to Australia for inspiration. If Frydenberg’s hysteria about renewable energy is to be acknowledged (irrelevant if true or not). India can decide that a grid should be built “smart” before they build it. They can look to the challenges we have and leap frog us and other countries by laying down these smarter grids. For that, I thank the likes of Frydenberg for unintended “advertising” against coal and old grids.

  • john

    Oh dear lets launch a bid to get finance to build a $16 B coal mine / rail line and export the product to India.
    How will that fly ?

    • Brunel

      This minister has been saying for 12-24 months that he does not want to import coal.

      Mr Sun Tzu said “know thy enemy”. Maybe someone said “know thy market/buyer”.

      And Mr Goyal simply does not want to buy Aussie coal!

    • trackdaze

      It’s effectively an annexure of central queensland as an indian province.

      With the Australian taxpayer footing the bill in roads,rail and ports to allow free movement between provinces.