India to miss power plant expansion plans: govt

India to miss power plant expansion plans: govt

New Delhi: India will miss its target of adding about 62,000 megawatts to power generation capacity in the five years to March 2012, with about 4,000 megawatts delayed, power secretary P. Uma Shankar said on Thursday.

That is likely to widen the power deficit of the energy-hungry economy and rein in its growth, seen as a driver for global recovery.

“About 3,000-4,000 megawatt capacity will be delayed due to reasons beyond our control like floods, chimney failure and local agitation," Shankar said. “These are very big projects. But all efforts are on to meet the target."

State-run NHPC will miss its target by 3,000 megawatts, its chairman S.K. Garg said, but it was not immediately clear if this figure was included in that given by the power secretary.

“The 3,000 MW (shortfall) will be ready in 2013/14," Garg said.

India, the world’s second-fastest growing major economy, desperately needs to improve its electricity infrastructure to reduce peak hour power shortages and provide electricity to millions of rural households, as well as keeping its resource-hungry industry on the move.

Shankar said the sector needed investment of about $400 billion in the five years to March 2017.

The sector is likely to raise coal imports to 60 million tonnes in the next financial year, Shankar said, from 45 million tonnes in the current one.

“This year, coal imports are expected at 45 million tonnes and next financial year it should be more than that ... about 60 million tonnes," Shankar told reporters.