Power deficit bottleneck for India's growth; NTPC CMD

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Kolkata, Sep 28 (UNI) With the country eyeing economic growth,lack of power availability emerges as bottleneck to industrial development in India as it currently faces energy shortages of 9.8 per cent.

This observation was made in the speech of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) R S Sharma drafted for the 51st Holland memorial lecture organised by the Mining Geological and Metallurgical Institute of India (MGMI) yesterday.

Mr Sharma stressed on embracing innovative approaches including fuel mix options, effective resource mobilisation, efficient project monitoring and execution.

'' Ultimate objective was to supply reliable power at the cheapest possible price to the customers across the country '' he stated.

Choice of fuel could be made from a menu including indigenously available conventional sources of energy like coal, lignite, hydro- resources, natural gas and petroleum fuels like naphtha, condensates, nuclear resources and the non-conventional sources like Coal Bed Methane(CBM) and gas hydrates, he added.

'' If we look at the present fuel-mix in the power generation, coal is the dominant fuel with coal plants constituting around 53 per cent of the installed capacity, generating around 67 per cent of total electricity '' he said.

One of the primary reason of our over-reliance on coal as the favourite fuel has been the cost of power generation, availability of fuel and availability of technology,'' Mr Sharma added.

Power sector is the largest slice of the pie representing the sources of demand for coal, with almost 78 per cent of the total coal output being used in this regard, it was mentioned in the speech.

'' In a bid to maintain the growth rate of over eight per cent for at least next two decades to achieve the status of a developed nation power sector has to play a crucial role '' the speech highlighted.

Long-term projections indicate that an installed capacity of nearly 800 GW by 2030 is required, up from the current level of 145 GW to maintain the desired annual GDP growth, the CMD informed.

'' It is my firm belief that coal will remain the preferred source of fuel to meet our ambitious power capacity '' he said.

Till now, the government has allotted 189 coal blocks, with the allotment of 52 during 2007-08,'' the CMD observed.

According to Mr Sharma, it is estimated that by 2011-12, demand of coal would be around 731 million tonnes against a production target of 680 mt. By 2016-17, such demands were estimated to grow further to 1,125 mt and production to 1,055 mt, he added.

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