India set to miss power capacity addition target

India set to miss power capacity addition target

New Delhi: India will again fall short of its power capacity addition target on account of equipment supply delays and other reasons, exacerbating an energy deficit that’s seen as a key bottleneck in efforts to sustain and boost economic growth.

The government had set a target of adding 20,359MW of power generation capacity this fiscal, but scaled it down to 18,600MW. The country has commissioned a capacity of 7,059MW so far in the current fiscal. In 2009-10, India added a capacity of 9,585MW as against a target of 14,500MW.

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Projects are faltering because of reasons as varied as shortage of power generation equipment, delayed investment decisions, contractual problems, resistance to land acquisition, delays in environmental and forest clearances, geological issues and natural calamities. This will aggravate the current 12% peak-hour power shortage.

“Apart from the usual problems like delays in equipment supplies, we also had the misfortune of natural calamities as in the case of floods that damaged the commissioning of the first unit of Tehri Hydro Development Corp. Ltd’s 400MW Koteshwar power project," said a top power ministry official, who did not want to be named.

While the plan was to commission the project’s first unit in December for which an investment of Rs2,100 crore has already been made, the project was flooded and the power house damaged. At least 65 people died in Uttarakhand after heavy monsoon rain triggered landslides and flooding in September.

Even as the target of adding 78,577MW in the 11th Plan period (2007-2012) was revised to 62,374MW, total capacity added till date is 29,000MW. The government is trying to find solace in the fact that the capacity added so far in the period exceeds the entire capacity addition in the 10th Plan.

According to the information reviewed by Mint, the government now plans to expedite the boiler light-up of projects of utilities such as Damodar Valley Corp., Neyveli Lignite Corp. Ltd and those in the state and private sector during the year to help it achieve the target. Mint had reported on 28 August 2007 that India will miss its target of adding 78,577MW of capacity in the five years to March 2012 substantially.

“We expect to achieve a capacity addition of at least 15,000MW in the current fiscal and the overall capacity addition of around 55,000MW in the current plan," said the power ministry official cited above.

In the five years to 2007, the country added 20,950MW of capacity, against a target of 41,110MW. In the 9th Plan (1997-2002), against a target of 40,000MW, only 19,000MW was achieved.