Stating that India needs to base its energy needs on “indigenous resources” like coal and hydro, Ravi Uppal the MD and CEO of Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL), said that the country “need not be miserly about using it’s own coal reserves”.
Speaking on the issue of “Energy security for India” at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) annual knowledge summit — Connexions 2014 —, Uppal said, “Every country has it’s own model of meeting its energy needs like Sweden and Norway. Energy is something that should come from your own society. Coal is our mainstay… There is no point in being miserly about using your own coal… Lets base our energy needs from what is indigenous like coal, hydro, solar and wind. That is the energy model to be followed.”
India has the world’s fifth largest reserves of coal and supply bottlenecks have been forcing many power generators to import coal from abroad. “It is an irony that India is sitting on 200 billion tonnes of coal reserves and a case is being made to import 170 million tonnes of coal,” said the official from JSPL, which was one of the companies affected by the Supreme Court’s cancellation of 214 coal blocks.
The comments from Uppal also comes at a time when the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) has called for phasing out of fossil fuels like coal by the end of the century.
Experts who spoke at the event expressed their displeasure on the amount of coal which is being imported inspite of the country having huge coal reserves. Naveen Munjal, director (commercial) of CLP India pointed out that countries like Thailand and China have banned sub-critical power plants and have replaced them with more efficient super critical and ultra super critical plants.
“There is also a need to delink the electricity regulatory commissions from politics, like the way Gujarat has done,” said Munjal while speaking at the event. He said that political compulsions were forcing state electricity boards in several states to purchase power at higher rates and sell them at lower rates.
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