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Feature | April 2017

Technology enables BoP to overcome sluggishness

Subhash Sethi, Chairman, SPML Infra Limited.

Has there been a perceptible change in the BoP business in last two years?
To meet the growing power demand in India, resource generation capacities are being enhanced continuously and while coal based thermal power plants are still the main sources of generating electricity, wind and solar generating capacity have increased many folds over the past few years. The BoP business has also transformed from coal and thermal to include solar, wind, hydel and other renewable energy projects. SPML has executed a number of civil construction and BoP packages besides developing optimum design for auxiliary packages like coal and ash handling, HVAC, water systems, fire fighting systems, electrical and control and instrumentation, etc. With the changes happening in past few years, our power division has integrated its strength in basic and in-depth engineering, process technology, project management, procurement, fabrication and erection, construction and commissioning to provide highly specialised services to the power sector.

How has technology changed in last few years?
Technology is always changing and being adopted by different sectors as per their requirements. The power sector has also been adopting the changes as new technology is providing better efficiency and results. Robotic technology and artificial intelligence has transformed the working environment, rendering even quite sophisticated skills redundant. The last few years has seen adoption of new age construction technologies including pre-cast, smart and green building, solar powered smart pumps and other various innovative tools to curb costs, reduce time lines and improve safety standards during project execution.

The technology has helped to get cogeneration and trigeneration power plants that are more efficient than central power plants with economic benefits and advantages. Trigeneration plants are energy efficient, conserve natural resources and reduce fuel consumption as the system operates at such high efficiencies and help our environment by reducing emissions as compared to typical power plants. The past few years have seen exciting changes with the use of technology from easy-to-operate machines, energy conservation, waste utilisation, plant execution to operation and maintenance to improve the functioning and productivity.

Do you expect Indian BoP companies to consolidate to overcome the sluggishness?
India's economy is growing with the rise in industrial and commercial activity in the country. With the growth in economy, energy demand has also seen growth of almost 7 per cent on year-on-year basis. The key factors of this phenomenal demand rise are; fast growth in manufacturing sector, rural electrification schemes to connect almost 1.25 lakh villages with electricity, the growth pattern of residential consumptions with more electric gadgets being used. The DDUGJY scheme focuses on strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure, including metering at all levels in rural areas. This will help in providing round the clock power to rural households and adequate power for agriculture. Apart from this, there are several government schemes to further electricity generation, transmission and distribution across the country. With electricity production of 1,107.8 BU in FY16, the country witnessed growth of around 5.64 per cent over the previous year. During April-September 2016, electricity production in India reached 584.22 BU registering a substantial growth. With more power projects being planned to increase energy production both from conventional and non-conventional sources, we feel that BoP companies will be able to have good businesses in coming years.

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