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Editorial | January 2013

Renewed hope

As 2012 draws to an end and the New Year rolls on, we hope that everything goes well. We are  optimistic that the power sector will regain its lost momentum in the New Year. Although, the power producers in the country have witnessed success in the past five years, the last year was actually challenging for this sector. Thanks to the July power outage, the policy makers woke up to enthuse a fresh lease of life with financial restructuring for the sector's most hit state distribution utilities and churned out possible options  to ensure fuel supply to power generators.

But the fuel problem is so deeply rooted that one cannot hope for an easy resolution. Nevertheless, the government has been promptly working on a way out and so are the concerned ministries — power, coal and environment — which have shown a proactive role in the past three-four months. Moreover, the industry people are hopeful but they have not noticed any decisive and prompt move regarding the issues gnawing the power sector. Apart from fuel, there are other issues such as land acquisition, environment and forest clearances, which need to be addressed.

Meanwhile, at a time when coal is not available at a viable rate for the power sector, the scope for non conventional energy sources has increased in the country. Solar and wind energy generation has recorded a commendable growth in the past few years. The country expects to  install solar energy capacity of more than 1,300 MW by the end of the financial year 2012-13, according to a top official of the ministry of renewable energy. Similarly, the wind energy capacity is poised to cross the 20,000 MW mark by next year. However, the current year witnessed a cautious investment again only due to the absence of timely renewal of grid based incentives for the wind generators. But, the renewable ministry is hopeful to reintroduce the revised incentive norms soon. In addition to this, the country is also exploring other options of green energy such as geothermal, tidal, wave and biomass.

The renewable sector not only drew attention from domestic investors but also global players seemed to be optimistic about the future of such energy sources in the country. For example Indo-Russian cooperation has been intensifying in the field of renewable energy. Cooperation in the renewable energy sector is a vital issue among the talking points between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Russia is investing $10 billion per year in renewable energy. India figures among the top five countries of the world in terms of renewable energy installed capacity and at present its renewable power comprises over 26,000 MW installed capacity, representing about 12.5 per cent of the total installed power generation capacity. India aims to achieve about 55 GW of renewable power by 2017. So there is enough space for growth for domestic as well as global players.

Keeping this in mind, in this issue we have our cover story on renewable energy that has gained a renewed hope in the back drop of the fuel supply crisis in the country.  CIL chairman has shared his view on coal issues and industry experts from PwC and KPMG have expressed their opinions on the outlook of the power sector. So switch on……

Happy New Year!

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