By Dhananjay Kulkarni By The Times Of India, Feb 16, 2019 09:22:26The coal-starved India needs an urgent boost from a bipartisan coalition led by two US senators, who have been working to expand access to power in the countrys biggest states.
The new proposal would require states to purchase 100 gigawatts (GW) of power from the US and the International Energy Agency (IEA) for every one million people, which is equivalent to the annual power consumption of nearly a million people.
The proposal is part of a larger bipartisan push for states to invest in transmission lines and other infrastructure to boost renewable energy production.
State governments in the northeastern states of Assam and Meghalaya have already invested more than US$1 billion in the grid in recent years, but the proposal would give states greater incentive to take on more costs.
“If we don’t have access to the electricity grid, we can’t be able to meet our basic needs,” said Ajay Maken, the executive director of the All India Coal Association (AICCA).
States in western India and northeast states such as Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have already taken on costs to build new power lines, which has been the case in several states, Maken said.
“It is the responsibility of the states to help the Indian people, but it is also their responsibility to protect their citizens, especially those in rural areas,” Maken told The Times.
States are now looking at more than 50 GW of transmission lines across the country, and some of these have already been completed, Maked said.”
If they can’t do that, we need to give them a choice.”
States are now looking at more than 50 GW of transmission lines across the country, and some of these have already been completed, Maked said.
However, the US Congress has recently blocked a bipartisan bill that would have allowed states to install new powerlines, and the proposal has been rejected by India’s top court.
Maken and other states say that the proposal does not go far enough and is needed to support the nations growing renewable energy industry, which depends on electricity generated by coal and natural gas, as well as biomass and hydropower.
“We need the power grid to be stable and reliable.
If the grid doesn’t work, then there will be no grid, there will no energy supply, and there will not be any economy,” said Suresh Nair, executive director, The Alliance for Sustainable Power, a group of power companies that supports the proposal.
“We need to expand the grid across the whole country and help the poor and the marginalized to get more power.”
The proposal has received backing from many stakeholders in the US, including the US coal industry, India’s energy ministry and the US Department of Energy, which have all pushed for the plan.
“Our states are working hard to expand their electricity transmission networks.
Our grid is a critical lifeline for rural India and the U.S. and a key part of the nation’s energy mix,” US Department OF Energy spokesman John Hagerty said in a statement.
“The proposed changes will support our coal-driven power sector, and help meet our climate goals and our economic needs.”
India’s electricity consumption has fallen by half since the end of 2015, and India’s government has announced a target of a 60 percent increase in renewables by 2026, according to a government report released last month.
The countrys emissions have also fallen since 2016.
India’s coal demand in 2025 was estimated at 2,087 million tonnes, down from 5,769 million tonnes in 2016.
But in the same year, coal production in India dropped to 539 million tonnes from 646 million tonnes.