All the villages in the country would get electricity connection by May 2017, a year before the 1000-day deadline set by the NDA government ends, Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday said.
The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines also announced soft loans to states for providing electricity connection to every household in the country.
He was addressing reporters on the last day of the two-day long Conference of Ministers for Power, New & Renewable Energy & Mines of States & Union Territories.
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“Electrification of villages have slowed down during the last couple of months due to rain. After my discussion with the states during these two days, I am confident that all the villages will get electricity connections by May 1, 2017, which is one year before the 1000-day deadline set by our government, which ends in May 2018,” the minister said.
“The states would get soft loans to achieve 100 per cent target of household electrification,” he said while briefing reporters about the outcome of the conference.
Proactive estimation of electricity demand was among other key issues discussed and agreed upon during the conference, held as part of SWITCH global expo here.
Giving further details about the National Electricity Plan, Union Power Secretary P K Pujari said states have been involved in the projection exercise.
“This is an exercise to gauge the demand for power in the country for the next 5 to 10 years. Based on the data about the future demand, we can estimate the capacity to be increased. We have prepared this report and discussed it today with states. Now, we will send it to them to validate the data.”
“Then, it will be put in public domain so that experts in this field can give their suggestion before we arrive at a conclusion about the exact demand scenario,” said Pujari.
Goyal said other key issues discussed with the states include focus on hydro power projects.
“I have asked the Power Finance Corporation and Rural Electrification Corporation to see how we can start small hydro power projects. We are also mulling to consider hydro projects as part of renewable energy. During this conference, we have discussed ways to restart 22 stalled hydro projects by fetching new investment for them,” the minister said.
During the conference, the states were given several suggestions and direction from the ministry, Goyal said.
“States were asked to finalise the Power Purchase Agreements with renewable energy generators before March 2017. States have also been asked to identify thermal power plants, which can be phased out. States are also asked to expedite the process of giving mining leases through auction” he added.
Another issue discussed at length was non-requisition of power by states from thermal power plants.
“In some cases, States are not able to buy power from thermal power plants. In such scenario, such extra power can be sold to other states. This is the best way to provide affordable electricity to the poor citizens and farmers of the nation,” said Goyal.
Talking to reporters, Pujari said India is all set to supply power to Sri Lanka through sub-sea cables.
On a question of any possibility of supplying power to Pakistan, he replied in the negative.
“I can only say that it is technically possible to supply power to Pakistan. However, it will be only done when a decision is taken about it. As of now, we are thinking to supply power to Sri Lanka through sub-sea cables, which is possible with the latest technology. The project is in its initial phase. Sri Lanka’s demand is 500 MW,” he said.