Solar power will be cheaper than conventional forms in the long run: Power Minister Goyal

The
ambitious targets set by the Centre for the increase in renewable energy
capacity are not fiction, said Piyush Goyal, Minister for Power, Coal and New
& Renewable Energy. Asked how it was possible to achieve the goal of
100,000 MW of solar capacity by 2022, he said the Centre was banking on
innovative ways of financing the capacity addition and drawing up bankable
power purchase agreements in this sector.


If
this is achieved, the sheer economies of scale will bring the price of solar
power down even further. “I am confident it will become even cheaper than
conventional forms of power in the long run,” he said. The Minister was
speaking at a lively ‘Breakfast with BusinessLine’ at the Park Sheraton Hotel
and Towers. BusinessLine Editor Mukund Padmanabhan led the interaction and
moderated the event, which is a platform for an exchange of ideas between
people of eminence and the city’s corporate and diplomatic elite. “We have
planned 5X growth in renewable energy in the next five years. It is an article
of faith for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India is much more conscious today
and all of us recognize that we have to leave behind a cleaner and greener
country.”

On
the Bill to amend the Electricity Act 2003, which has been tabled in the Lok
Sabha, Goyal said he hoped it would be enacted in the second half of the Budget
session. Asked about the reservations of some States to the amendment Bill,
which separates carriage from content, he expressed confidence they would see
the wisdom in changes that will increase both competition and efficiency in the
sector. “If one or two States come on board, I think the rest will follow under
pressure from the public. This is exactly what happened in the case of VAT,” he
said.

Turning
to the coal sector, Goyal was keen on dispelling the widespread notion that
there is a shortage of coal for power plants. On the contrary, there is enough
coal thanks to the steps taken by the Centre, he said; the real issue is who
will use the fuel, he added. “My challenge is where do I use my coal. I don’t
know where to use the coal if I produce more,” he said.

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