As the Indian economy continues to surge ahead, its power sector has been expanding concurrently to support the growth rate. The demand for power is growing exponentially and the scope for the growth of this sector is immense. The overall power generation in the country has increased 5.5 per cent from 768.43 billion unit (BU) during 2009-10 to 811.10 BU during the year 2010-11. India’s peak power deficit (the shortfall between supply and demand in peak hours) in FY2011 narrowed to 10.3 per cent from 12.7 per cent of the year ago, as per the data from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA)’s website.
Thermal electricity, which accounts for about two-thirds of India’s power generation and includes using coal, liquid fuel and gas, grew 3.81 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y). Coal based generation during the year increased by 4.16 per cent.
According to the CEA, Ministry of Power, India's total installed generating capacity as on December 31, 2010 is 1,69,748MW. Thermal power plants account for 1, 11,034.48MW, followed by hydro power plants with a capacity of 37,367.40 MW. Renewable energy sources provide 16,786.98 MW of power and the remaining 4,560 MW comes from nuclear energy.
Within the thermal power plants, coal-based power plants have an installed generating capacity of 92,378.38 MW, gas-based have a capacity of 17,456.35 MW and oil-based have a capacity of 1,199.75 MW.
India requires an additional 90,000 MW of generation capacity in the next seven years with a corresponding investment in the transmission and distribution network, as per an industry report. Key growth drivers for this segment include large demand supply gap, renovation and modernisation of old thermal and hydro power plants, large untapped hydel power and increasing privatisation of distribution networks.
CEA expects a 75,000 to 1,00,000 MW power generation capacity addition in the Twelfth five year plan (2012-2017), majority of it coming from coal-based plants.
The government will, by June 2011, call global tariff bids to award contracts for laying five mega transmission lines worth US$ 1.44 billion. A government official said at least 30 companies including Tata Power, Lanco Infratech, L&T Transco Pvt Ltd, GMR Energy, Gammon India, Patel Engineering Ltd-Simplex Infrastructures Ltd, JSW Energy, CESC Ltd and Soma Enterprise are likely to bid for the projects. Foreign players like Spain's Isolux Corsan and Instalaciones Inabensa have also been eyeing an entry into the Indian power transmission space. The five projects would be bid out by state-run Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC).
Mr Farooq Abdullah, Union Minister of New and Renewable Energy said the government is targeting to electrify 10000 remote villages across the country with an investment of US$ 112.14 by March 2012.
India expects investments of up to US$ 55 billion by 2015 in the renewable energy sector, which would generate 35,000 MW of power, stated Debashish Majumdar, Chairman and Managing Director, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA).