India could miss its target of adding 78,577MW of power generating capacity by 2012 because it is yet to place orders for equipment required to generate 10,950MW.
And even if it were to place orders for some of these equipment now, a shortage of capacity in the domestic power equipment industry could mean that deliveries do not happen on time to meet the 2012 deadline.
“Even as there is a shortage of power generation equipment worldwide, the delay in placing equipment orders for 14% of the power generation capacity that is planned during the 11th Plan period (2007-12) has all but ensured that India will miss the power generation target. The earlier target was to place all orders by December last year. Now, we are trying to do it by March,” a senior government official, who did not wish to be identified, said.
India missed its target of adding 41,110MW in the five years to 2007 by 49% and the government said that delays in technology alliances, lack of funds and natural calamities such as floods were responsible for this.
The delay in placing orders prompted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to call for a review last month that was attended by finance minister P. Chidambaram, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and other senior government officials.
Of the 78,577MW capacity planned to be added 2012, only 7,263MW has been commissioned. Work is on to add another 60,214MW.
There are no government or independent estimates available on whether and how much of this work will be completed by 2012. Mint had earlier reported that the country will manage to achieve only 40-46% of the target.
On Thursday, power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said in a press conference that orders for the machinery required to generate 10,950MW would “be placed by March-end”. “We are confident that we will be meeting the plan targets,” he added.
Shinde’s reference, however, is only about the big-ticket items that need to be ordered, including boilers, turbines, and generators.
The other equipment—coal and ash-handling, water treatment, and auxiliary services equipment for coal-based power projects—need to be ordered by July for the 2012 target to be met, said experts.
India faces a shortage of firms that can make coal and ash-handling, water treatment, and auxiliary services equipment for coal-based power projects as reported by Mint on 28 August 2007.