In the past 8 years, this Government, under Prime Minister Modi, has brought about a total transformation of the power sector. It will be useful to look at how this ongoing transformation is being brought about. In 2014 the total installed power generation capacity was 2,48,554 MW and load shedding was a regular feature across the country. In the past 8 years, we have added 1,69,110 MW of generation capacity. We now have a total installed power generation capacity of 400 GWs, whereas the maximum demand till date has been 215 GWs.
One Nation One Grid: Over the past 8 years, we have added 1,66,080 Circuit Kilometers of transmission lines connect and integrate the whole country into one single electric grid running on one frequency. The Indian grid has now emerged as the largest integrated grid in the world. The inter-regional transfer capacity in 2014 was 37,950 MW which has been increased to 1,12,250 MWs after the Modi Government came to office. Our transmission lines deploy some of the most cutting edge technology in the world such as the 800 KV HVDC and are located at some of the challenging altitudes in the world. The Srinagar-Leh line for instance passes across height of 15,000/16,000 feet above sea level.
Universal access: Before our Government came into office, more than 18,000 villages and hundreds of thousands of hamlets were not connected with electricity. On the 15th of August, 2015, Hon’ble Prime Minister announced from the ramparts of the Red Fort the target of electrifying every village in 1000 days. This was a challenge as hundreds of villages were located in the high hills of the Himalayan Belt, where even poles, conductors, transformers etc. had to be carried across on ponies and by Helicopters; and hundreds of village / hamlets in the desert areas of Rajasthan. We achieved the target in 987 days – 13 days ahead of the target date. The International Energy Agency called this the biggest news of the energy sector in 2018 in the world. Thereafter, the Prime Minister set us a target of connecting every home in the country with electricity. We did this in 18 months. A total of 2.86 crores homes were connected with electricity. This was equal to the population of Germany and France combined. This was the largest expansion of access in such a short time frame in the history of the energy sector of the world as stated by the International Energy Agency. All States certified that every willing household had been connected with the electricity. Subsequently, some States reported that some households, which were unwilling earlier, were now desirous of getting connected with the electricity. We connected these homes as well and we have asked the States to ensure that if any other home, which was in existence on the day of the launching of “Saubhagaya – the scheme for universal access” had been missed out, they should be connected. The policy of the Modi Government is to ensure that no one is left behind.
Strengthening Distribution Systems: We have strengthened the distribution systems on a scale which is unprecedented. We implemented schemes for strengthening the distribution systems in all States at a cost of Rs.2,01,722 crores. We added 2,921 new Sub-Stations, upgraded 3,926 existing Sub-Stations added/replaced 6,04,465 circuit kms of LT Lines and 2,68,838 kms of 11 KVA HT Lines; constructed separate agriculture feeders of 1,22,123 circuit kms; and installed 7,31,961 Transformers to strengthen the distribution system of the States. The result of these steps has been stupendous. The average availability of power in rural areas was 12 hours in 2015 – today it is 22 ½ hours. In urban areas, the average is 23 ½ hours. The market for DG sets is now dead.
Energy Transition: Our Government cares about the environment. In 2015, Prime Minister Modi announced a target of installing 175 GWs of Renewable Energy capacity by 2022. Despite two years of Covid/lockdown, today we have established Renewable Energy capacity of 158 GWs – with another 54 GW under installation.We have emerged as a country with the fastest-growing Renewable Energy capacity in the world. We have also been rated as the most attractive destination for investment in Renewable Energy in the world. Every major fund in the world is invested in our green energy programme. In COP-21, we had pledged that by 2030, 40% of our power generation capacity will come from Renewables. We achieved this target in November 2021 – a full 9 years ahead of our target date. Now we have a target of putting a Roof Top on every home and solarising every irrigation pump. Similarly we are on a mission for emissions reduction. We had pledged in COP-21 in Paris that by 2030 we shall reduce the emissions intensity of our economy by 33%-35% as compared to 2005 levels. We are nearing a reduction of 30% already. Our Ujala Programme is the largest LED programme in the world and it has resulted in the reduction of CO2 emissions of 106 million tonnes per annum. We have programs for enhancing energy efficiency and reducing emissions in our industry – the programme is called Perform, Achieve and Trade, which means increased energy efficiency leading to a reduction in the emissions. This has resulted in a reduction of 103 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum. We have an energy efficiency programme for appliances like Air Conditioners, Refrigerators etc. – called the Stars Rating Programme in which we rate appliances from One Star to Five Star depending upon their energy efficiency. This has resulted in a reduction of CO2 emissions by 53 million tonnes per annum. We have put in place a programme for energy efficiency for commercial buildings called the Energy Conservation Building Code and for residential buildings called Eco Niwas Samhita. As a result of the aforementioned steps, we have emerged as the only G-20 nation and only major economy whose energy transition actions are consistent with a sub 20 rise in global temperature.
The scale of the transformation in unparalleled in the histry of the world. As we achieved our NDC targets well in advance, we have increased our targets in COP-26 taking the pledge to install 500 GWs of Non-Fossil Fuel capacity by 2030. We have also pledged to reduce our CO2 emissions by 1 billion tonnes by 2030 additionally. We shall achieve these targets. The Government have brought the comprehensive reforms covering the entire gamut of the power sector. The Government has made the provision of a Letter of Credit compulsory for the flow of power and brought down the late payment surcharge from 18% to 12%. For the first time in the history of the Power Sector, we have laid down Rules spelling out the Rights for Consumers which include timelines for the grant of connection, for replacement of defective meters, correction of bills etc. The process of recovery of costs due to a ‘Change in the Law’ has been simplified under the Modi Government. We have put in place Rules to provide for flexibility in scheduling, providing for the most efficient generating stations to be scheduled first. This has reduced the cost of power for consumers. We have separated the CTU from POWERGRID to bring in transparency. The Rules for connectivity to the transmission network have been simplified by putting in place General Network Access Rules. We have expanded the market – bringing in the Real-Time Market; and putting in place separate Term Ahead and Day-Ahead Market for Renewable Energy. We have provided for the bundling of Renewable Energy with Thermal Energy and Bio-Mass cofirings in thermal power plants. We also provided for GENCOS to be able to sell power in the Exchange in case it is not scheduled by the PPA holder. In order to ensure the viability of the system and bring in financial discipline, the Government has made fund flows under all schemes and grant loans from PFC and REC conditional on their undertaking reforms. As a result of this 36 DISCOMs have agreed to timelines for the reduction of AT&C losses and ACS-ARR gap as well as clearance of subsidy and government dues. Corporate Reforms are being put in place in DISCOMs. We have put in place a new Rating System for Distribution Companies which puts reforms in governance of DISCOMs at the forefront. The scale of comprehensive reforms undertaken across the entire plethora of the power system is unparalleled by any other period of the previous governments. Before this no other government had ever touched Distribution Sector Reforms. In line with the vision of the PM Narendra Modi, we are working towards a brighter India, with the mission of “power to the future of the nation”.
(The author is Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy. Pres Information Bureau Srinagar has mailed this article to “Kashmir Horizon” for publication in this newspaper.Views are his own)