After tasting success in solar energy auctions which helped bring down tariffs, the government is looking to soon start bidding for the wind power sector, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday. “Solar power auctions have benefited immensely. It’s (wind power auctions) on the way, its on the anvil. In fact I have just come from a meeting where I was telling my officers to speed that up,” the New and Renewable Energy Minister said at a discussion at the Economist India summit in New Delhi.
He further said: “Over the years, the wind people were so used to the feed-in tariffs that they were resisting it on the ground that its distributed all across small units, it won’t work. But, I realise that pricing that you get out of these feed-in tariffs is never going to be the most optimal tariff.”
Fortunately, the success of solar power tariffs has brought solar power prices down by 40 per cent in the last 12 to 17 months. It has become the benchmark for wind power, he added.
“So wind is suddenly started facing the wind of solar and their pricing is becoming unviable so now they are coming back to me and are ready and willing to go for the auctions,” Goyal, who also holds the charge of Power, Coal and mines Ministries, said.
On high prices in the coal auctions impacting firms, he said: “I did not set the auction price. It was a free and frank and transparent and open auction. And everybody was free to bid who wanted the coal. I never asked the companies to bid a particular price more or less. I didn’t interfere.”
Taking a dig at the firms which bid in the auctions, Goyal said: “Private sector bid for that coal and they are so smart I am sure that they bid the right price… Now those smart people have bid for that coal, they pay for that coal.
“I think its a fair deal. you can’t have a deal where the private sector is smart while they make money and they are not smart and it’s my duty to bail them out when they lose money.”
On increasing share of renewable energy in India’s energy mix, the Minister said government has set a target achieving 40 per cent of installed capacity through renewables and reduce the carbon intensity of the GDP by 30-35 per cent by 2030.
Energy requirements of the growing economy would triple by 2030 and hence making the role of research, innovation and development key in addressing issues in a holistic manner, he stressed.
On climate change and India’s role in it, Goyal said the country has its own development imperatives like bringing around 40 per cent of its population out of poverty, feeding the hungry, creating jobs and physical infrastructure.
India, though on path of reducing carbon intensity, would require some room in order to boost to its manufacturing sector, which in turn would ride on the back of coal generated power in the near future, he explained.
Goyal stressed that developed nations need to honour their commitments on helping developing nations with technology transfer and funding.
On the UDAY scheme, Goyal said by 2019 no state discom would be making losses.
“The Ministry is capturing data about the functioning of various state discoms and analysing it to know where the fault lies so that it can be corrected soon,” he added.
On the Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs (UJALA) programme, he said it has been widely accepted across rural and urban areas and so far over 15.45 crore LED bulbs have already been distributed.
Over 5.15 crore Indian households have already benefitted from this programme, the Minister noted.
Currently, the scheme is operational in 18 states and 4 Union Territories. EESL will roll it out in West Bengal and North Eastern states in the coming days.
In the remaining states and Union Territories, the decision to roll out the scheme is pending with the respective state governments, he said.
Government of India is committed to achieving its target of replacing all the 77 crore inefficient bulbs in India with LEDs. This will result in reduction of 20,000 MW load, energy savings of 100 billion kWh and Green House Gas (GHG) reduction of 80 million tonnes every year.