Seminar calls for stronger budgetary support

A seminar on ‘Union Budget 2013 and power sector’ organised by the Kerala State Electricity Board Engineers Association (KSEBEA) here on Tuesday called for stronger budgetary support at the Union and State levels to tide over the crisis in the power sector.

“What the Union Budget has provided is only low-voltage support to the power sector,” the seminar said. The proposals would add to the rising power costs and adversely affect the industrial and economic growth of the country.

Repeating the already announced discoms financial restructuring package was not suitable to many States. “The proposals are no way helpful to Kerala,” the seminar said.

Acute power shortage, shortage and price escalation of coal and other fuel, hindrances to completion of power projects, gross failure in achieving target and generation capacity, and inter-State corridor congestion were serious challenges. “But the Union Budget addresses none of these,” it said.

The seminar called upon State Finance Minister K.M. Mani to come up with proactive steps for immediately increasing generation capacity.

Renewable energy

In his keynote address, the former KSEB Member (Generation) K. Radhakrishnan said the State should revamp the set-up for non-conventional energy so as to utilise generation-based incentives for wind energy projects announced in the Union Budget.

Assistance to renewable energy projects from The National Clean Energy Fund, which functions under the Union Ministry for Renewable Energy, could be well utilised by the State, he said.

Mr. Radhakrishnan said the proposal to slap 2 per cent customs duty on imported thermal coal was shocking. The cost of imported thermal coal was expected to rise by Rs.50 or more a tonne. This would only fuel the increasing energy prices. The hike in diesel price too had had an impact. The combined effect would lead to an increase of at least 15 paise a unit of electricity generated from coal.

In his address, G.H. Krishna Iyer, former general secretary of the KSEBEA, called for stricter monitoring of solar panel installation in the State. The prices of solar panels were fast coming down. But empanelling of solar plant companies by the government was denying the benefit of lower price to the people.

N.T. Job, former organising secretary of the KSEBEA, called for a stronger set-up in the KSEB for enhancement of its solar energy share. A large number of investors were waiting for a positive nod from the board, he said.

K. Sivadasan, solar energy expert, said Kerala’s exploitable solar power potential was around 10,000 MW.

S. Rajendran, district unit chairman of the association, presided.

More In: Kerala | National