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Centre aims to provide 24X7 power to all by 2019
Sunday December 28, 2014 7:49 PM, IANS

The central government is on target to meet its ambitious goal to give uninterrupted electricity to all homes across India, an official said here Sunday.

"Comprehensive state-specific action plans for 24x7 power to all homes is being prepared in partnership with respective states, encompassing generation, transmission and distribution," the power ministry said in its year-end review.

"We believe our steps to increase coal production are on the right track, our targets are quite doable, whether it is renewable energy, coal production or 24x7 power, we are very confident of our targets," said Power Minister Piyush Goyal, who also holds the portfolios of coal and new and renewable energy.

According to official estimates, 53 million homes in the country are not yet electrified and many offices and factories continue their operation on diesel gensets.

The year closed with the government this month tabling in parliament significant pieces of legislation involving the sector - on the reallocation and auction of 204 coal mines cancelled previously by the Supreme Court, and for makng amendments to the Electricity Act of 2003.

Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said: "There are 380 million tonnes of coal lying in these mines and when extracted will help us stop imports and take us to the target of one billion tonnes of coal production in the next few years."

With the cabinet approval of the guidelines for e-auction of the blocks earlier this week, the government has started the process of allocating 41 coal blocks. The tender documents for the auction were released Saturday.

For the regulated power sector, the government has ensured that tariffs do not go up due to auctions by choosing the reverse bidding route, with state miner Coal India's price providing the upper limit while the bidder with the lowest bid will be declared the winner.

The government has set a target of doubling electricity generation from one trillion units to two trillion units by 2019, giving a renewed focus on renewables with generation going up from the current 53 billion units to 300 billion units in five years. The target for solar power generation has been put at 100,000 MW by 2019.

The share of renewable energy is currently just over 5 percent of the total base made up of one trillion units of electricity.

Through the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014 tabled last week, the central government proposes to introduce stricter penalties for failing to meet renewable purchase obligation (RPO) targets.

Under the RPO system, the state power distribution companies have to mandatorily purchase electricity generated through renewable energy sources during the year.

The proposed changes will also introduce the renewable generation obligation (RGO), which will make it compulsory for thermal power producers to generate electricity through renewables.

The salient changes proposed in the Electricity Act are aimed at enhancing grid safety, unbundling the distribution sector, promoting renewable energy and tariff rationalisation.

Within a given area, multiple distribution companies would be licensed to operate and offer power to consumers.

State-miner Coal India is looking to double its production from the estimated 500 million tonnes this year to a billion tonne in 2019.


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