There is a Chinese proverb “May you live in interesting times”. The expression is usedironically, with the thought that times of peace and tranquillity are ‘uninteresting’ while chaotic times being counted as ‘interesting’ ones. We are living in interesting times of highest ever power access disparity in India. Despite galloping installed capacity additions of 54 GW during last five year plan and 88 GW further capacity addition being well on target in 12th plan, the prevailing price of power in southern region stands on an average higher by 150% compared to Northern and Western region of the country. With about 280 GW capacity being put in place, country is able to use only about 140 GW in peak demand, leaving behind a lurking peak deficit at about 9% impacting 0.4% of GDP growth.

India is the fourth largest consumer of energy with consumption of over 614 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe). Coal remains a staple to India’s energy needs and even though the country produced 565.76 million tonnes of coal in 2013-14 (an increase of 1.7 per cent over FY 2012-13), it is still not enough to satiate the country’s growing demand for energy, commensurate with the growing population and rising standards of living. The total import of coal has increased by 15.5 per cent (i.e from 145.80 million tonnes to 164.44 million tonnes) to meet the growing demand.

Date: 06-09-2015     Author: Dr. Ramakrishna R Sonde

An Eassay on Imperatives on faster translation of “near-viable and still-in -R&D technologies” into commercially viable ones using the triple mantra of technology, manufacturing and appropriate policy and financial instruments.

South Asian countries continue to lag behind their developed counterparts in terms of access and availability of quality electricity supply (Figure 1). Availability of power supply still remains a drag on the economic growth and development in South Asia, despite the fact that a number of countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have witnessed moderate to significant power sector reforms that include partial or full unbundling of the erstwhile state-owned power sector utilities and setting up of electricity regulatory commissions (See Singh et al. (2015) for further discussion).

Electricity customers in most parts of India are a deprived lot as the state discoms decide to feed electricity requirements indiscriminately or load shed them alternatively. Access to electricity remains poor - the per capita consumption today is less than 1,000 kWh, which is much lower than the world average of approximately 3,000 kWh. Supply to end consumers in many states is only for 12-14 hrs. Ironically, even as states claim to be power surplus, and trade surplus power at Rs 2.50/unit over exchange, diesel generators run at an average cost of Rs 15/kWh.

Date: 06-09-2015     Author: Shravan Sampath

The country still has several pockets where conventional power needs to be transmitted hundreds of kilometers through inefficient transmission infrastructure. The highways of Rajasthan or the winding roads of Northeast India are often spotted with villages that are not connected to the grid and need special support to be electrified. An often-quoted world-bank statistic is that over 400 million people in India do not have access to electricity. While this number may be misleading as a lot of good work has been done under various rural electrification schemes over the past 10 years, it is of no doubt that much more is required to be done. There is a significant gap in the technically electrified villages and the villages where electricity is available for a minimum of 6-8 hours in a day. Moreover, transmission of electricity over such long distances through transmission lines is often extremely inefficient. It is for these reasons that off-grid electrification needs to be taken up in a serious manner.

The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) released, on 30th June 2008, inter alia includes specific action points for promoting deployment, resolving the barriers to development, and commercial deployment of biomass amongst other renewable energy technologies, and promoting biomass combustion and biomass gasification technologies. In the context of energy security and the necessity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there is an urgent need for accelerated harnessing of all renewable energy sources, especially biomass based energy, feeding power to the grid, and off-grid applications. 

Date: 03-02-2011     Author: Ashok Sethi, Tata Power

Historic Perspective
Access to electricity and communication is key to the economic development of any country. The telecom sector evolved in India after regulations made way for the entry of competition into the industry. The National Telecom Policy (NTP) Act ‘99 which deregulated the Group of Telecom (GoT), raising the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit to 74%, was followed by successive policies by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The result was a steady decline in calling rates, additional Value Added Services (VAS) and a net benefit accruing to the end users. Competition made the sector better. The cost of bulky cell phones a decade ago was Rs. 20 to 25 K; call charges were about 15 Rs./Min. Today, at the same price one gets a sleek touch phone with add-on features.

This Article was published in "Consumer Issues in Power", IPPAI Research Publications-2011

Date: 28-04-2010     Author: V. Subramanian

Historically, solar technologies were propagated in India mainly for off-grid and electricity substitution applications. What is attempted here is the logic, imperatives, and vision behind the recent policy developments leading to multi-megawatt scale grid-connected application of solar photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies. In theory, one percent of India‘s land that is utilized for solar generation could supply all its electricity needs by 2030. However, if this potential of solar energy is to be achieved in practice, it should, in the long term, meet the three important thresholds of cost, availability, and reliability.

This Article was published in IPPAI Publication- "Solar, Wind and Biomass" 2010

Date: 10-04-2010     Author: Ganesh Raj, Partner, Ernst and Young Private Limited

When archaic rules have to be replaced with new ones, the changes have to be dramatic and path breaking. The Direct Tax Code (DTC) endeavours to usher in an era of transparency and greater tax compliance. It signals a paradigm shift in the direct tax regime for the Indian economy and is touted as a replacement for the Income tax (I-T) Act, 1961, that would promote entrepreneurship, wherein the thrust would be on ‘regulated free markets.’ This Article was published in "Legal and Tax Summit 2010" IPPAI Research Publication.

Date: 10-02-2010     Author: Gokul Chaudhri, Partner, BMR Advisors

The petroleum sector is a strategic industry for the economy and has traditionally been closely regulated, with the exploration and production activities being primarily concentrated in public sector companies.

In order to attract private investment in the oil and gas sector, in 1999, the Government of India (“GoI”) formulated the New Exploration Licensing Policy (“NELP” or the “Policy”). The Policy sought a paradigm shift from the pre-NELP regime under which ONGC and OIL were granted a "Petroleum Exploration Lease" on a nomination basis. The Policy framework seeks to provide a level playing field to the domestic public sector companies, private companies, and foreign companies, by offering similar regulatory and contractual terms for exploration and production of oil and gas. Also included is a seven year tax holiday from the date of commencement of commercial production.

Date: 17-12-2009     Author: K P Sukumaram & Dilip Nigam, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy

India faces a formidable challenge in meeting its energy needs and providing adequate and affordable energy to all sections of society in a sustainable manner. The country today faces an energy demand supply gap of about 8% with peak shortages to the order of 11-12%. Also, grid access is yet to be provided to over 56% of rural households. The solution to this challenge lies, inter-alia, in maximizing the utilization of renewable energy sources for meeting our energy demands. Moreover, the ever increasing prices of fossil fuels and the growing concern over global warming, due to fossil-fuel based power plants, has led to a constant interest, in all sectors, to harness renewable sources for power generation, in particular, wind energy.

This Article was published in "Policy Incentives for IPPs & Investors for Wind & Biomass Power Generation"- IPPAI Investor's Guide- 2009

The intent of this paper is to familiarize the reader with certain ground realities and special features of operation of electricity grids in India, as also with the tariff structure adopted for large thermal power plants. The discussion herein would be of interest to all those proposing to participate in generating capacity augmentation programme of India, as plant designers, equipment suppliers, plant owners / operators and investors.
This paper was published in "Challenges of Incorporating New Nuclear, Fossil, and Renewable Energy Projects into the Indian Power Sector" -IPPAI Publications 2009

Date: 30-05-2009     Author: Prof. S L Rao, Former Chairman, CERC

Before India’s independence, electricity was decentralized. It was generated and supplied locally by private entrepreneurs, enterprising municipalities and provincial governments. The hydroelectric project of the Tata’s in Khandala supplied power to Bombay, as did the Mettur Dam on the Cauvery River, which supplied power to the Madras Presidency. But the emphasis was on supply to large urban concentrations, and there was little coordination or cooperation between the different suppliers.  The first legislation was passed in 1877, which provided for the protection of persons and property, from injury and risks, attendant to the supply and use of electricity for lighting and other purposes. This Act was repealed and replaced by the Indian Electricity Act, 1903.

This paper was published in "Legal and Tax Summit" -IPPAI Publications 2009

Date: 30-05-2009     Author: Vijay Duggal, Chief Commercial Manager-CGD, BPCL

Broadly speaking, in the case of gas pipeline projects, one needs to aim at achieving:
1.Maximum possible sized pipeline
2.Minimum possible tariff

The selection criterion accordingly needs to be designed. As regards CGD networks, in addition to the requirement of an optimal sized network with minimum tariff, the other criteria could be:
1.Maximum possible coverage of domestic PNG and CNG
2.Quickest possible capital investment
3.Widest possible geographical spread of the network.

Date: 23-09-2015     Author: Dr. T. R. Shankar Raman, Dr M. D. Madhusudan

Can India reconcile the needs of ecology and equity against the demands of energy and economy? This is one of the major questions that confronts this developing nation undergoing major demographic, social, and economic changes. India’s renewed emphasis on power generation, transmission, and distribution, and associated infrastructuredevelopment, plays a significant role in this growing economy. And yet, this carries both promises and problems for the country’s ecology and society.

I was utterly confused while skimming through the report by the high-level committee appointed by the Government of India under T.S.R. Subramaniam to review various acts governing our environment. Many constitution experts, sociologists as well as ecologists believe that an assessment report of such complexity deserves extremely skilful handling by specialists from respective streams of specialisation. However,the team assigned this responsibility appears to be absolutely unfamiliar in handling the subject .

Date: 06-09-2015     Author: Sanjeev Kanchan, Aruna Kumarankandath

While moving towards renewable energy sources, India needs to ensure efficient coal-based generation with high end technologies. Since coal will continue to dominate, cleaning the sector is the only way out.

Power is crucial for the development of a country. Being a developing one, access to power is a big challenge which India has for its people, agriculture and industry. Here, the trilemma comes; the need of low cost power, adequate supply and environment conservation. And the zeroed-in option for India is coal as a source of electricity which is a taboo. Above 60 per cent of the power generation capacity is from coal-based plants, which estimates to around 167GW as of now (CEA, June, 2015). And the taboo brings in pollution with it - emission of particulate matters (PM), sulphur dioxides (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), neurotoxins like mercury and carbon dioxide, the most discussed one.

Date: 06-09-2015     Author: Shripad Dharmadhikary

It is often believed that coal-based power plants near the coast, by virtue of their proximity to the sea, do not create any pressure on water resources. Shripad Dharmadhikary’s visit to Krishnapattanam in Andhra Pradesh and parts of Tamil Nadu exposes the fallacy in that.

(A collection of articles written and published in the Mint newspaper, India, and compiled as one for the IPPAI knowledge document 2015)

The narrative reminds us of the value of ecosystem services provided by nature - rivers, forests, wetlands, grasslands to mention a few. These natural resources are not infinite. How we harvest and manage natural resources is the key to our future.

Date: 09-10-2015     Author: Gaurav Sharma

Despite the euphoria surrounding renewable energy and new schemes announced by the government, the country’s struggle to provide adequate power to an aspiring 1.3 billion population which is going to increase significantly by 2030, continues. The sector has been grappling with issues related to fuel supply availability both coal and gas, weak demand led by the financial woes of discoms, aggressive bidding, and distressed financials of developers. The way things are going now, not only generation companies but equipment manufacturing companies may also require debt restructuring due to a lack of new projects in the pipeline.
This article was published in September 2015 edition of PowerWatch magazine.

The Private Sector’s contribution in the development of critical infrastructure from the era of the British Raj to modern day India is worthy of acknowledgement.

In terms of the power sector, the first steam power plant was set up by CESC (1 MW) in 1899 and the first independent power project was set up at Jegurupadu in Andhra Pradesh (1997) by GVK. GVK’s combined cycle project at Jegurupadu was India’s first privately financed, fast-track, independent power project to come on stream and was expected to serve as a standard for further IPP projects. From then till the recently commissioned thermal units of MB Power (Madhya Pradesh) and Thermal Power Tech (Andhra Pradesh), the private sector has made a rapid and significant impact on the entire gamut of the power sector

Date: 05-09-2015     Author: Dharun Kapur

Beginning from the 1931 census, until recently (in the past two decades), the conversations about India’s rapidly increasing population were mostly concerned with how this growth stood in the way of the country’s march towards development, and acted as a major obstacle in the fight against poverty, illiteracy and other human development parameters. Today, with the birth of a baby approximately every two seconds (Kumar 2009) and a population of over 1.2 billion, which comprises about 1/6th of the total human population, the threat of overpopulation still remains a concern (Roy 2014).

Date: 01-09-2015     Author: Ms. Mita Nangia Goswami, Vice-President, IPPAI

We live in a world that is growing rapidly and the 7 billion plus human population today is predicted to swell to 9.6 billion by 2050. For the first time in history, more than half the world’s population is living in cities. As consumerism proliferates, these urban spaces are responsible for more than 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally. It is a disconcerting fact that in 1800 A.D, only 3 percent of humanity lived in cities! At present almost all population growth takes place in cities. According to UN projections, 70 percent of humanity will be living in cities by 2050. This article focuses on the gap visible between core infrastructure services like water supply in smart cities and rising urban population in these cities.

Clean power is the new buzzword in the Indian power sector. Keeping in mind India’s global commitment towards climate change obligations and increase of renewables in the total energy mix of the country’s installed capacity, several projects in solar and wind sectors have been planned over the course of the next seven years. Contrary to this, the share of hydropower in the country’s energy mix is falling precipitously due to the rather slow pace of capacity addition.
This article was published in July 2015 edition of PowerWatch magazine.

Date: 01-04-2015     Author: Gaurav Sharma for IPPAI

The article is a review of state of Indian Power Sector in the year 2014, compiled by Independent Power Producers Association of India (IPPAI). India has world’s fourth-largest generating capacity but per capita consumption of electricity is very low. About a quarter of country’s population still do not have access to electricity. In spite of fast-paced capacity addition in recent years, the country is still facing power deficit. It is high time that power sector reforms are taken up with focus on the consumer and with full involvement of states rather than through complicated, central driven initiatives. Ensuring adequate electricity supply is critical to fuelling the country’s growth ambitions.
This article was published in April 2015 edition of PowerWatch magazine.

Date: 18-10-2011     Author: Mr.Harry Dhaul,Director General IPPAI

Since the advent of Electricity over one hundred years ago, it has become a critical life-force of modern day living. The unique features of Electricity – it cannot be stored, cannot be seen, nor touched, yet its effects are there for everyone to see. As something that the five senses cannot perceive, yet its effects are there for all to see, this bestows it with an ethereal quality and universal appeal.

It is in this context that even in the 21st century, the haves and have nots are clearly getting defined along the lines of those having or not having access to electricity. Electricity is becoming the index for defining the quality of Life and therefore the challenge before us is to ensure “electricity for all”.

Date: 07-05-2011     Author: Mr.Harry Dhaul,Director General IPPAI, Economic Times

India, the land of paradoxes, harbours dreams of becoming a superpower without plugging into power

It is certain that the country will continue to enjoy darkness in the coming years. Perhaps it is fate, perhaps it is destiny. It has been seven years and more since the Electricity Act, 2003, was passed.

We have yet to see serious efforts at reforms at the ground level. The consumer is yet to get a choice. The effort made to install independent regulators has been over-run by the phenomenon called not my turf baby.

Date: 01-03-2011     Author: Mr Harry Dhaul, Director General, IPPAI

India aspires to achieve double digit economic growth in order to lift vast sections of its population out of poverty while at the same time creating a modern, diversified industrial and services base. One of the most formidable challenges it faces is that of an infrastructure deficit which is reinforced by the scarcity of funds to create new infrastructure. Sporadic and confused legislative and administrative changes have ensured that far from adequate investments are being made in the power sector in India. This lack of legislative and administrative clarity had led to a rapidly growing deficit in India’s ever-increasing demands for energy (especially that for electricity), thus seriously hampering the long-term growth of the economy

Date: 15-12-2009     Author: Mr. Harry Dhaul, Director General, IPPAI- Deccan Herald/ December 15, 2009

India aspires to achieve double digit economic growth in order to lift vast sections of its population out of poverty while at the same time creating a modern, diversified industrial and services base. One of the most formidable challenges it faces is that of an infrastructure deficit.

Sporadic and confused legislative and administrative changes have ensured that far from adequate investments are being made in the power sector in India. This lack of legislative and administrative clarity had led to a rapidly growing deficit in India’s ever-increasing demands for energy (especially that for electricity), thus seriously hampering the long-term growth of the economy.

This article was published in The Deccan Herald in December 2009

Date: 09-06-2011     Author: M. Humayun Kabir, VP, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, Dhaka

1.Energy security is at the top of the agenda for almost all countries, consuming and producing countries alike, due to the extreme uncertainty in today’s energy markets. It regularly features in the agenda of major global conferences, including the G-8 and G-20 meetings. In South Asia, successive SAARC summits have also acknowledged the importance of this issue, and during the 16th SAARC Summit in Thimphu in April 2010 the member states have committed to “developing a Saarc Regional Energy Framework Agreement for collaboration among the Saarc Member States in harnessing indigenous energy resources and procuring energy supplies from other regions to meet their increasing energy needs.” Clearly such a commitment has cast focus on a much larger canvass with multiple implications.

Date: 03-03-2011     Author: Talmiz Ahmad, India's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

The Hydrocarbon Vision 2025, published by the Government of India in February 2000, starkly sets out India’s energy security predicament: its crude oil self-sufficiency declined from 63% in 1989-90 to 30% in 2000-01. In the future, the situation is likely to get worse: India’s demand for oil is expected to increase from 122 million tonnes in 2001-02 to 196 million tonnes in 2011-12, and 364 million tonnes in 2024-25. Domestic production during this period would increase from 26 million tonnes to 52 million tonnes in 2011-12, and to 80 million tonnes in 2024-25. In 2024-25, crude oil self-sufficiency would be a mere 15%. The situation relating to gas is equally grim.