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Excess power bottled up in power surplus Gujarat

According to reports, it is a paradox that a little bit of planning can easily address. Gujarat, a power surplus state, is forced to shut down power units for there are no buyers for the power it generates.
On the other hand, power deficit states such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, with capacity to buy power they badly need are not able to tap in to this surplus in the absence of west-south grid, the commissioning dates of which are being pushed further ahead.

Explaining this dilemma that his government faces on daily basis, Saurabhbhai Patel, minister for power, government of Gujarat, said Gujarat government sold 30 million units on December 6 at an average rate of Rs 3.28/unit. But the following statistics was more alarming. It could not sell 45 million units for lack of power evacuation means. And Gujarat pays fixed costs to the power generating companies.

In an informal chat with select media here on Saturday, Saurabhbhai Patel said Gujarat has stated generating capacity of around 21,000-MW.

“But if one keeps out of this equation, power from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, and the nearly 4,000-MW of power that can be generated through gas based units, we are still left with a surplus. The gas based units are closed due to gas pricing policy and variable costs,” he explained.

Selling this excess energy either through Indian Energy Exchange or Power Exchange of India Limited or by floating tenders, Patel said, the biggest problem is to get remunerative price. “Most of the northern states are not in a position to pay for power, and states that can do so are unable to get the same due to logistics reason.” This situation has arisen due to lack of planning on part of union government which is fully aware of power projects.

The Gujarat government on the other hand is now aggressively promoting industries to set up base in that state so that this surplus power can be tapped into. “We are also striving to attract textile industries without textiles policy so that not only do the cotton growers in the state benefit, but also these industries are able to feed on the power surplus,” he said, adding South can benefit if the West-South grid is commissioned at the earliest.

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