Shinde pitches for US investment in power sector

Chicago: Indian Power Minister Sushil kumar Shinde made a strong pitch for US investment in the growing power sector in India on Tuesday, asserting that lucrative opportunities were available to investors.

He was speaking at the US-India Economic Opportunities and Synergies Summit in Chicago organised by FICCI in association with The Executive Club Of Chicago at the Fairmont Hotel here.

Shinde said the average plant load factor (PLF) of Indian generation units improved to 77.5 per cent during 2009-10 from 73.6 per cent in 2006.

The contribution of the private sector to India`s electricity output has grown from 11.6 per cent in 2006 and further to 30 per cent as of date and is likely to go up by about 60 per cent in the 12th plan (2012-2017), he said.

Shinde told reporters at a press conference that during 2010-11, 15,795 MW of power got synchronized and 12,161 MW commissioned, which was the highest-ever capacity addition achieved in a single year since Independence.

"80,000 MW is under construction as of now — such a huge amount," Shinde said.

"Per capita consumption of electricity has grown from 600 kwh to 785 kwh in a span of five years," FICCI Senior Vice-President R V Kanoria told reporters.

However, while "Infrastructure has not grown, India has grown," Kanoria added.

Shinde said while the present installed generation capacity in India is more than 1,81,000 MW, over 80,000 MW of new power capacity is under construction.

He added that during the forthcoming 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017), the funding requirement of the Indian power sector has been estimated at USD 230 billion.