Industry needs to innovate and redesign electrical equipment that can use the abundant domestic coal which has high fly ash content so as to reduce dependence on imports, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal said today.
“There is a need for us to become self-reliant and self-sufficient as we have to fight the competition on economic and fair terms,” Goyal said at an event organised by the industry body IEEMA.
“Some of our equipments like boilers have been designed in such a way that there will be coal shortages and that might be forced to depend on imports. But today, with a surplus coal production, we need to develop boilers and other equipment that can use the domestic coal,” the minister said.
He said the country imports nearly USD 10 billion worth of electrical equipment and this needs to change. Explaining the need to lower or end import dependence, he recalled how the natio’s defence preparedness was compromised when a foreign government refused to part defence equipment that we needed the most then. “The surgical strike carried out by the Army yesterday reminds me of the time when we were standing helpless after a country decided not to give us the equipment that we needed.
“And today we are dependent on some inimical countries for critical spares and equipment and if at any critical juncture, the power sector got crippled for lack of spares and adequate equipment, can we handle that?” he asked. Goyal also said he has asked the state-run equipment manufacturer BHEL to redesign some of the boilers to take a larger intake of the high fly ash coal, rather than being dependent on cleaner coal from abroad. “We aspire that we become the laboratory of the world,” the minister said.
Goyal said he has also asked National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) to innovate and look at technology to replace the existing 35 year-old equipment at its 690 MW Salal project in Jammu and Kashmir with higher capacity equipment to increase the output by 50-100 per cent.
“I have asked NHPC to look at the technology used in other countries like America, Canada, Brazil as to how we can increase the output, may be through replacing the old equipment with higher capacity ones. “As setting up of new hydro projects is challenging mainly due to issues like land availability, cost, R&R, it will be feasible to expand the capacity of existing plants,” Goyal said.