By now, you might have turned a new page of the new calendar. After shedding the New Year hangover, it is time to recall what has happened over 2017, so we can lay a roadmap for what we have to do to light up people's lives in the New Year, mainly through 'quality 24x7 power for all' as the government has envisaged.
Looking back, in 2017 Union Budget, we have seen raining sops for solar, in terms of investment, village electrification and taxes. Though the momentum was seen picking up since then, towards the year-end there were concerns like rising PV prices and lack of demand push from customers. Though the PSUs have taken measures to bridge the gap in building green grids, it is not fast enough to meet the growing demand of renewable yet.
Looking at the positives, UDAY launched 2 years back is seen changing the lives of power distribution companies (discoms). By now, 27 states and 4 union territories have joined UDAY. The states joined initially have been reaping benefits of lower interest costs and successfully achieved better financials,by cutting down losses and bridging the gap between cost and revenues of discoms during the year.
Nuclear policy that envisages setting up of 7,000 MW of new capacity over the next 10 years has revived hopes of the country's nuclear component makers. GST has made news evoking few positive and several negative reactions from across the country. However, power sector being kept out of the uniform tax code did not go well with some players who feel that they are deprived of input tax credit.
Looking at the negatives in 2017, despite a marked improvement in coal supplies in the country, a sudden demand spike in the second half 2017 has exposed the weak underbelly of coal logistics, affecting generation capacity to the tune of 11,000 MW. That means, this has added to about 46,000 MW of stranded capacity, accentuating the 'problem of plenty'. This has also triggered signs of consolidation in TPPs, if the power purchase agreements are not forthcoming some time.
There are no signs of improvement in the fortunes of hydro power, which had over 40 per cent share in power generation a few decades ago, and hovering around 14 per cent now.
If the Ministry of Power's activities go according to plan, in 2018, we will be able to achieve a new milestone of electricity connection to all villages by May 2018. To achieve the prime minister's plan of reaching 'power to all' before March 2019 elections, most of the work should have been completed in 2018 itself. That way, 2018 is expected to be an exciting year, turning a new leaf for the power sector.
Cutting to the current edition, Power Today has adjudged Saurabh Kumar, Managing Director of Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) as the Person of the Year for 2017 for the services he has rendered to the power sector in general and the civil society at large, which your beloved magazine considers to be 'par excellence'. Kumar converted the idea of energy efficiency into a business proposition - 'Pay as You Save' service - that pays back the investment in a few years. This has revolutionised the concept of energy efficiency.
Wishing you a happy and prosperous new year!
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