Power(ful) challenge

The electricity industry remains a strategic sector whose activities have critical implications on the performance of any economy – big, medium or small. The employment aspect is another factor. The power sector in India will require a huge workforce of over 6.5 lakh by the 12th Plan period [2012-2017] as the country embarks on an ambitious plan to add over 180,000 MW capacity by then, according to a report by the Institute of Energy and Research.

Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission intends to add 20,000 MW solar power capacity by 2022. Promotion of grid-connected solar power in a big way could bring the cost of solar power generation to grid parity levels. Natural gas is also expected to play a key role in India’s energy-mix by 2025, increasing to 20 per cent. The petroleum and natural gas sector attracted cumulative FDI worth $ 3,338.75 million (between April 2000 and March 2012) – an attractive destination for projects owing to the vast market potential and well-developed industrial, financing and business infrastructure. India has been ranked as the third best investment destination in the renewable energy sector, next only to China and the US, according to Ernst & Young. Renewable energy contributes to around 70 per cent of the total power business in India, as compared to 10 per cent in 2000 (in terms of project numbers and dollar value).

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