April 1, 2016

New policies to boost generation of power from biomass, biofuel

NEW DELHI: The government will unveil a raft of new policies to boost hydropower and electricity from biomass, biofuels and cogeneration as well as significant increase in the use of electric cars, Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal said. 

The government will also correct transmission bottlenecks, improve last-mile grid connectivity and take steps to increase demand for electricity as many power plants are running at a low capacity, the minister said at conference organised at the launch of energy portal ETEnergyworld. com on Thursday. 

He said the country can also expect initiatives to correct transmission bottlenecks and replacement of diesel generators with reliable supply, which would generate demand for electricity from underutilised power stations and reduce the use of standby generation that is often very polluting. 

The ministry is banking on large scale rural electrification, correcting transmission bottlenecks, improvement in last mile connectivity, and replacement of diesel generators to increase the demand, Goyal said. 

“Having achieved around 9% rise in coal production and more than targeted thermal power capacity addition in 2015-16, we now need to focus on demand generation. Increased rural electrification followed by power to all homes will lead to greater demand for power,” he said. 

Goyal said lack of adequate transmission capacity in many states results in reduced power supply despite substantial demand. He said improved last mile connectivity would lead to reduced usage of diesel generator sets. 

“If we can replace diesel generator sets with power from the grid we could see substantial increase in demand,” he said. New power generating capacity totaling 23,000 Mw was commissioned in the last financial year that ended on Thursday against a target of 20,000 Mw. 

Share of hydropower generation in India has shrunk to just 15%, though the country ranks fifth in the world in hydroelectric potential. 

Long construction period, lack of transport infrastructure, geological risks, land acquisition and environmental and religious concerns have slowed hydropower projects including 50,000 Mw being allocated to private companies in north and northeast India. 

The power ministry is working on a plan to shift to electric vehicles by 2030, and has significantly stepped up the use of energy-efficient LED lighting. 

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