Gas-based plants in India are not viable because there is not enough gas in the country and Naptha-based plants produce costly energy, government said today blaming inadequate planning for the situation.
Power Minister Piyush Goyal informed the Lok Sabha that power crisis in the country is a situation which he has "inherited" and is not the doing of a 67-day old Modi government.
Responding to supplementaries, Goyal said gas-based plants are not viable because there is not enough gas in India. "There is not enough gas in this country and if at all, these plants have come up, there was no assurance of gas being provided at any particular price or the availability of gas was not guaranteed to any of these plants," he said.
Goyal said Kerala has some gas-based plants and it is "very difficult" to imagine how a government could subsidise power from the plants which are set up without assurance from the government. He said the Centre is sympathetic to the fact that these assets have come up and see if we can find out a suitable mechanism to support these plants.
Responding to a question on Koodankulam power plant, he said there has been a lot of debate on this issue as to whether the states which did not allow nuclear power plants to come up in their states, should be the beneficiary of nuclear power generated in another state.
"Having said that, as of now the policy is that power is allotted as per the Gadgil Formula. We are going by that formula and based on that formula, appropriate allocation is being made. The extra unallocated power is given to the states which are having the highest power deficiency," he said.
Responding to another supplementary on NTPC plant in Rajasthan, Goyal said that plant has produced no power despite having a 419 MW capacity. He said in the entire 2013 and 2014, up till now, no power could be generated because Naphtha is extremely expensive. "It is unviable and I think people of India cannot afford power at this price. It is unfortunate that in earlier years these plants came up without adequate planning," he said. Goyal said the possible cost escalation was not taken into consideration.
Government is trying to examine these plants to see whether there is a possibility to convert them into gas-based plants. "There is a devil and a deep sea situation because there is no gas available in the country. So, I do not know to what extent it will even resolve the problem. Ultimately, India will have to produce more gas and supply to these power plants. Until such time, there will be agony in producing power at these high prices," he said.