Union Power Minister Plans to Add 80 GW of Thermal Power Capacity by 2031-32

Shri R. K. Singh

Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, Shri R. K. Singh, convened a crucial meeting with key stakeholders in the power sector on November 21, 2023, to discuss the expansion of thermal power capacity and address industry challenges. The gathering included officials from the Ministry of Power, state governments, central agencies, and industry representatives.

Addressing the attendees, Minister Singh emphasised the government’s commitment to adding 80 GW of thermal power capacity by 2031-32 to meet the surging power demand resulting from rapid economic growth. Singh stated, “We cannot rely solely on renewable energy sources, and nuclear capacity expansion is limited. Hence, we plan to initiate work on at least 55 GW – 60 GW of thermal capacity.” According to the National Electricity Plan projections, the country aims to reach 283 GW of coal and lignite-based capacity by 2031-2032.

Minister Singh called upon states with existing thermal capacity to ensure its availability, urging timely renovation and modernization. He warned that states not maintaining their capacity would not receive additional power from the central reserve.

Industry Must Prepare for Steady Orders
The Power Minister encouraged the industry to prepare for the addition of thermal capacity, stating that orders would continue for the next 5-7 years. He emphasised that thermal energy remains relevant until energy storage becomes cost-effective for round-the-clock supply through renewable energy.

Singh highlighted the favourable business environment in the power sector, mentioning the payment security mechanism and prompt payments. He predicted a supplier’s market for the next 20-25 years and advised the industry to boost manufacturing capacities.
Vendor concerns, including issues with the bidding process, credit shortages, and technical specifications, were addressed during the meeting. The Minister encouraged vendors and contractors to submit their concerns for solutions.

Thermal Energy Remains Relevant
Power Secretary Shri Pankaj Agarwal echoed the Minister’s statements, emphasising the continued relevance of thermal energy. Agarwal urged private sector involvement in capacity expansion to meet growing power demands, especially during non-solar hours and adverse weather events.

Also Read | Government Unveils Four-Pronged Strategy to Address Surging Power Demand

The meeting concluded with a call to action for the industry to seize the opportunity and proactively contribute to expanding thermal power capacity to ensure uninterrupted power supply for the nation’s growth.

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