Nine Years of Modi Government: Complete Rejuvenation of the Power Sector

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During the last nine years, the Modi government has made possible remarkable changes in the power sector. Gone are the days of constant load shedding and power outages. Before 2014-15, the loss in power supply was an astonishing 4.5 per cent. However, since this government took office in 2014, there has been an impressive addition of 185 GW in power generation capacity. With this, India has become a power surplus country instead of a power deficit country. Today our total installed capacity is 417 GW, which is almost double the peak demand of 222 GW. As a result, India is now exporting power to neighboring countries.

Remarkable progress has also been made in the field of transmission. Since 2013, an extensive network of transmission lines spanning nearly two lakh circuit kilometers has been established, connecting the entire country to a unified grid operating on a single frequency. These transmission lines use state-of-the-art technologies like 800 KV HVDC and pass through some of the most challenging and difficult terrains including the Srinagar – Leh line situated at an altitude of 15000/16000 feet above sea level. The capacity to transfer 112 GW of power across the length and breadth of the country has turned India into an integrated power market, up from just 36 GW in 2014. This transfer capability has enabled distribution companies to buy maximum power at competitive rates from any generating company across the country. As a result, consumers have started getting electricity at cheaper rates.

Universal access to electricity has been a major focus of this government’s efforts. Before our government came to power, more than 18,000 villages and several hamlets were without electricity even after 67 years of independence. In August 2015, Prime Minister Modi announced a target to electrify every village within 1000 days. Despite facing logistical challenges in hilly terrain and desert terrain, the government achieved the target in just 987 days, 13 days ahead of schedule. This achievement was recognized by the International Energy Agency as the most important news in the energy sector in 2018.

Building on this success, the government has set a target of connecting every household with electricity. Remarkably, this target was achieved within 18 months and a total of 2.86 crore households were electrified. This rapid expansion in access to electricity is unprecedented in the history of the energy sector, which has been recognized by the International Energy Agency. The Modi government’s policy is to ensure that no one is left behind. With the aim of strengthening the distribution systems, the government implemented comprehensive schemes in all the states with an approved cost of over two lakh crore rupees. These plans included addition of new substations, upgradation of existing substations, installation of transformers and construction and replacement of thousands of kilometers of LT and HT lines. With the help of these efforts, there has been a significant improvement in the availability of electricity in rural areas. The average availability of electricity in rural areas has increased from 12 hours in 2015 to 22.5 hours today, while urban areas are now getting an average of 23.5 hours. As a result, the market for DG sets is now dead! The government has also demonstrated its commitment to the environment by focusing on renewable energy. In 2015, Prime Minister Modi had announced a target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. Currently, India has an installed renewable energy capacity of 172 GW with an additional 84 GW under various stages of implementation. This development has established India as the fastest growing country in terms of renewable energy capacity. Due to its reputation, India has attracted investments from major funds around the world. In addition, India has achieved its commitment to have 40 per cent electricity generation capacity from renewable energy sources by 2030, nine years ahead of schedule. Currently, 43 percent of installed electricity generation capacity, totaling 180 GW, comes from non-fossil fuel sources.

The government has also been successful in reducing the intensity of emissions. By achieving the target of reducing the intensity of emissions by 33 percent – ​​35 percent compared to 2005 levels, India has made itself the only G-20 country to adhere to the idea of ​​keeping global temperature rise below 2-degrees. and has established itself as the flagship economy, UJALA (LED Distribution), ‘Perform, Achieve and Do Business’ [परफॉर्म, अचीव एंड ट्रेड (पीएटी)]Various programmes, such as the Star Rating Program for Appliances and Energy Savings Certificates, have contributed to the reduction of CO2 emissions by 159 million tonnes per annum. The building code aimed at energy conservation in commercial and residential buildings is another major step in this direction. We have now pledged to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030 and the energy intensity of our economy by 45 per cent from 2005 levels. We will achieve these targets also before 2030. Widespread reforms have been implemented in the entire power sector. Various measures have been taken to improve efficiency and financial discipline in distribution companies (DISCOMs), such as linking financing with AT&C loss reduction, implementing energy accounting and audit, and ensuring timely payment of subsidies by state governments. As a result, AT&C related losses of discoms have come down from 22 per cent in FY2021 to 16.44 per cent in FY2022. The legacy dues of power generation companies (gencos) to discom companies have come down by almost half – from Rs 1.4 lakh crore to Rs 80 thousand crore. The current payment made by the discom companies for the power taken is up to date.

By allowing the flexibility to schedule the most efficient generating stations first, we reduce the cost of electricity for consumers. The electricity market has also been expanded through the introduction of a ‘real-time market’ and by establishing separate ‘term-ahead’ and ‘day-ahead markets’ for renewable energy.

As part of the effort towards energy conversion, we have permitted bundling of renewable energy with thermal energy and co-firing of biomass in thermal power plants. Any consumer with a connected load of 100 kW or more can now get renewable energy from such generating plants. Government is supporting production of solar PV cells and battery energy storage systems with viability gap funding through PLI. The hydropower sector, which was lying dormant, has been revived with about 15 GW of projects under construction. Rules and guidelines for setting up charging infrastructure for Electric Vehicles (EVs) have been simplified and charging from household connections has been made possible. The dispute resolution mechanism now settles the dispute within a month. In short, the Modi government has brought remarkable changes in the power sector. India has made unprecedented achievements in this sector by focusing on expanding generation capacity, expanding transmission network, making electricity accessible, promoting renewable energy and implementing comprehensive reforms. The Government’s commitment to environment, energy efficiency and sustainable development has established India as a global leader in the energy sector. With even higher targets for renewable energy and intent to cut emissions even further, the Modi government continues to make strides in powering the future of India’s power sector.

  • R.K. Lion
    Union Power Minister

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