During a recent trip to India, I was able to see at first hand the level of investment that the country is making in its infrastructure, and it is positively breathtaking. In Delhi, for example, countless massive motorway flyovers, partly constructed, tower over your head. But when you take into consideration India’s meteoric economic growth (an average of 8.6 per cent over the last three years), making it Asia’s third largest economy, the scale of the investment makes sense. However, even with the current level of investment, roads, rail and utility infrastructure are being stretched close to breaking point.
India’s electricity generation sector is under enormous and growing pressure. As industry expands and incomes rise, the demand for electricity continues to grow apace. According to the Central Electricity Authority, demand for electricity exceeded supply by 7.3 per cent in 2005. Furthermore, India government’s planning commission projects that the country will need to increase generating capacity to 78 GW by 2032 from 127 GW to maintain the same level of economic growth. Thus, as India’s demand for power becomes ever greatert, finding ways of producing more and more reliable power has never been more important.
Things are not all doom and gloom, however. India’s power sector, which was an early pioneer of reform a decade ago, has learned through trial and error (the Dabhol power plant/Enron disaster, for example), and is showing signs of real progress. Signs that the sector is moving in the right direction include the introduction of independent regulation, the separation of power generation, transmission and distribution into different businesses, and the introduction of competitive bidding for projects, together with greater transparency to woo private company investment.
Another important development taking place is the recent announcement by the country’s utility major, Reliance Energy, confirming it will spend more than $14.9 billion over the next five years, adding 15 000 MW of much-needed extra capacity. According to Anil Ambani, the company chairman, Reliance Energy’s focus will be on “large-scale generation projects using coal, gas, hydro and other renewable fuels”.
On the renewables side, in a recent report by the international wind consultancy, BTM Consult ApS, India over took Spain last year to become the third largest wind market in the world. Assuming that the Indian economy as a whole continues its impressive growth, the wind industry is expected to continue its rapid development, and by 2011, is expected to have installed an additional 11 800 MW, for a cumulative capacity of over 18 000 MW.
India is also now looking to nuclear energy to help it meet its growing generation shortfall. In a recent press conference, S.K. Malhotra, head of public awareness division of the Department of Atomic Energy, said that, “India will generate 200 GW of nuclear energy by the middle of the century and most of it would be by fast breeder reactors”.
Clearly India’s electrcity market is one of the most dynamic in the world, and offers enormous opportunities for both domestic and foreign private investment. Furthermore, growing concern about whether India’s manufacturing capacity for power plant equipment is sufficient to meet demand also means that opportunities abound for OEMs from around the world.
This is why Power Engineering International is extremely pleased and delighted to be the flagship media sponsor for next year’s POWER-GEN India & Central Asia, which takes place 3-5 April 2008 at the Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. Both the conference and the exhibition are hotting up to be the best ever.
Finally, I’d like to welcome you to the redesigned Power Engineering International. Some of you may remember that in my first ever editorial for the magazine I mentioned an internal layout redesign was on the cards, well here it is. The aim was to achieve a cutting edge, professional and clean appearance that did not detract from its traditional authoritative look and feel. I hope we have achieved this but, as always, constructive criticism is most welcome.