The main challenge faced by the power sector in India is from difficulties regarding acquisition of land and obtaining environmental clearances, said Chairman of Tata Power Ratan Tata, addressing shareholders at the company’s 93 annual general meeting (AGM) here on Friday. “We have to accept that the country’s growth rate depends on power being available. Looking ahead, the major challenge is the availability of energy at affordable prices,” he said.

“The main fuel to meet the country’s energy needs is coal and the fact is that domestic coal continues to be in short supply and the price of imported coal has doubled in the last few years. There is the question of coal block and land auctions which have to be addressed.”

Mr. Tata said the demand for power in India is expected to double by 2030 and that “the challenge of the availability of domestic coal and expensive LNG (liquefied natural gas) imports only add to the cost of power generation.”

The government should initiate policy action as gas-based plants need encouragement to be made viable, he said. Mr. Tata, who is to retire as Chairman of the Tata Group in December this year, said, “the challenges are daunting and cannot be met by the private sector alone and I hope the issues are addressed as time goes on.”

“Power is a business with a terrific future. Having adequate power will ensure the growth story of India. Tata Power is the largest integrated power operator in India and is positioned and poised with the wherewithal to grow domestically and has a goal to grow internationally too,” he said.

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