India to explore foreign markets for surplus power, says RK Singh

India will explore foreign markets like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh for its surplus power generation capacity, Power Minister R K Singh said today. His comments assume significance as the average plant load factor or capacity utilisation in India is around 60 per cent. “We can run our plants at 80 per cent PLF (plant load factor) but coal is a constraint. It does not make sense to import coal when we have sufficient coal underground. We need to build more railway lines to transport coal,” Singh said addressing a conference organised by NTPC. He further said: “We need to explore foreign markets like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. Demand is there. We need to access that. They are short of power”.

He was of the view that there is need to unlock the demand by not just exploring foreign markets but also increasing power demand in the country. He also asked NTPC to explore the possibility of investments in other countries to widen their horizon in view of surplus installed capacity in the country. Singh also said the panel constituted by Power Ministry on Unchahar power plant accident last year, has submitted its report, which would be reviewed soon.

 He said he does not see it as a mala fide incident. One incident will not change NTPC’s image because it is known for safety and efficiency, he said. The minister also opined that the cheap renewable power alone cannot meet the entire demand in view of fears among conventional energy operators after free fall in tariffs of wind and solar power last year.

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