EU urged to enhance investment in India's energy sector
Areas listed for cooperationAmple scope for private enterprises in the distribution segmentBusiness-to business contact will facilitate higher investment
NEW DELHI: The Centre will soon have an institutional mechanism in place for selection of power transmission project developers through tariff-based competitive bidding, Union Power Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde, said here on Thursday.
"Through this mechanism, specific transmission projects will be formulated and investors, both private and public, will be asked to compete for development of these projects," he said while delivering his keynote address at the first India-EU business conference on energy.
Such a policy framework, Mr. Shinde said, was necessary to attract private capital as the country would require an investment of about $100 billion in generation, transmission and distribution projects during the Eleventh Plan period (2007-12).
India and the European Union, Mr. Shinde said, should substantially increase cooperation in the field of energy and while urging the EU to enhance investment in the sector, he assured it that the Government would remove all irritants that come in the way.
Listing several areas such as wind energy and electricity based on biomass, he said the two sides could gain substantially through mutual cooperation. In particular, the gains through cooperation would be in areas such as improving energy efficiencies, research in the field of renewables, clean coal and carbon sequestration technologies, he said.
Turning to rural electrification, Mr. Shinde said: "There are also additional investment opportunities for setting up of stand-alone systems in rural areas," and pointed out that no licence was required for establishing a composite scheme of generation and distribution in notified rural areas. For private sector enterprises, there was ample scope in the distribution segment too, he said.
Another significant area for investment opportunities, Mr. Shinde said, was captive coal mining for specific end-use such as power, cement and steel. He hoped that business-to-business contact between India and the EU, such as the present conference, would facilitate higher investment and provision of services. "If there are any barriers or irritants coming in this process, we are willing to examine the same," he said.
In his address, the EU Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, said the concerns of the EU and India on the energy front were similar such as security of supplies, competition and sustainability. He stressed on the need for having a market mechanism in place as he felt that it was a pre-requisite for attracting larger investments into the energy sector.
Mr. Piebalgs is on a visit to India to participate in the India-EU energy panel meeting on Friday. The panel, set up after the India-EU summit in 2004 and meeting for the second time, is expected to have discussions on renewables and clean coal technologies as also India's participation in the international thermonuclear experimental reactor project.