CONFERENCE OF MINISTERS FOR POWER, NEW AND RENEWABLE ENERGY AND MINES: AT SWITCH GLOBAL EXPO IN VADODARA
Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines inaugurated the Conference of Ministers for Power, New & Renewable Energy and Mines of States & Union Territories at the first SWITCH Global Expo in the presence of Shri Upendra Tripathy, Secretary, MNRE. Deliberation sessions were held with State Governments during the Conference, with the aim to review the implementation of various ongoing Schemes/ Programmes and discuss a host of issues pertaining to Power, Coal, Renewable Energy, and Mines sectors. Ministers and senior officers from 20 States and two Union Territories along with chairpersons of Public Sector Undertakings under Central and State Power Ministries attended the two-day conference. The conference was organized on the sidelines of the International Energy Conference-SWITCH Global Expo organized by the Government of Gujarat. The first SWITCH Global Expo—an exhibition and summit for national and international participants in electrical engineering was held in Vadodara, Gujarat, from October 6–10, 2016. The Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Vijay Rupani inaugurated the five-day event in the presence of Shri Piyush Goyal; Deputy Chief Minister Shri Nitin Patel, State Energy Minister Shri Chimanbhai Shapariya, and other leaders.
In his Inaugural address of the Energy Conference, Shri Goyal congratulated the Government of Gujarat for organizing the conference on such a large scale. He urged State Ministers and their officers to use this platform to deliberate and work collectively towards achieving sustainable growth of each citizen and become the fulcrum of growth and prosperity of the Nation as a whole.
The Minister gave the motto, ‘Together We Can’ and asked States to look beyond individual State and departmental issues and keep a national perspective in solving the challenges faced by the common man. “Improvement is best change that is possible”, the Minister inspired the august gathering in his address. Shri Goyal, while congratulating the Government of Gujarat on its achievements in efficient functioning of the power sector, cited its shining example where good governance and good economics lead to good politics.
The Minister delved into various issues of the Ministries of Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines and the challenges faced at State level along with the collective solutions that can be worked out through cohesive working between the centre and the States. He also laid great stress on the importance of transparency, accountability, and the use of modern technology in achieving an efficient working profile in these sectors.
Shri Goyal, while acknowledging a positive response from the States in various policies and programmes of the Union Government, said that “I am greatly satisfied with the encouraging response from the States. We are not here to give out doles to States, rather the Union Government encourages States to become efficient in their functioning, more transparent and self reforming so as to work for the wider interests of the society and achieve the goal of 24×7 Affordable Power for All.”
The Minister pointed out elementary challenges that affect the efficient functioning of the renewable energy sector at the State level. These include State Governments not signing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with the power suppliers, not paying for purchased power in time, not implementing the ‘Must Run Status’ for the power plants and non-compliance of renewable purchase obligation (RPO) strictly by all the States. The Minister observed that without addressing these basic issues at the earliest, the country’s power scene would not be able to meet the high standards set by this Government.
During the inaugural session, the Union Secretaries of the Ministries of Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines highlighted various issues and challenges facing their sectors and stressed upon the need of cooperation from the States in achieving the respective goals. The focus areas of discussions were on issues like implementation of Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), 24×7 Power for All, feeder monitoring, IT enablement of urban and rural feeders, rural electrification programme, energy conservation, Right of Way (RoW) compensation for transmission lines in urban areas, national power demand and national electricity plan, issues related to open access and captive generation, energy/peak shortage and increase in transparency by introduction of mobile apps.
Apart from the above aspects, mandatory adoption of Energy Conservation Building Codes by States and Agricultural Demand side management was discussed. Discussions were also held on policy interventions for hydro development, including small hydro under the broad aspects of progressive hydropower policy.
In the area of renewable energy, State wise review was taken on issues regarding solar power, wind power as well as the compliance of renewable purchase obligations (RPOs) and renewable energy certificates (RECs).
The concluding session of the conference consisted of comments and feedback by States/UTs and adoption of conference resolution by the delegates.