12 August 2017

The Hindu

Unstable power, a big barrier in India

Japan said on Friday that unstable power supply was among the biggest investment barriers in India. The development comment comes ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s India visit next month during which discussions on bilateral discussions on cooperation in the energy sector would get priority.

Incidentally, Japan had commited to develop mega-industrial corridors and high-speed rail network in India through financial aid and technology transfer. These projects would require uninterruptible power supply. “... the problem of unstable power grid... is still one of the biggest investment barriers in India,” said Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu. He said the Japanese system using solar cells and micro-grid control technology could provide solution to this problem. He was speaking after opening a solar power plant at Neemrana in Rajasthan. The plant is part of the $100 billion-Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project – being set up with the Japanese government’s help. The DMIC is an initiative under the ‘Japan-India Special Strategic Partnership’.

Mr Hiramatsu cited the example of Mikuni Corporation (a Japanese company) operating in Neemrana and manufacturing critical auto-components that directly affect automobiles’ performance and safety, to say, “in order to make such precision parts, obviously, stable power supply is indispensable.”

He said, “There are many solutions that Japanese technology can provide for challenges that India faces in the field of energy.” The Japanese Ambassador said he has been discussing with Indian power minister Piyush Goyal on how India and Japan can cooperate in areas such as environmental equipment for coal thermal power plants, grid stabilisation, pump up storage hydropower, smart telecommunication towers, solar irritation pumps and bio-fuels.

Japan also wants Japanese solar cells to be used on rooftop of buildings in India’s densely populated areas. “Japanese solar cells may be more expensive than rival commodities. However, they are more efficient, which means taking less space, lighter in weight, generate better (power) in places like India with hot climate, and last for a very long time-in fact some Japanese solar cells come with over 35 years of guarantee,” the Ambassador said.

Speaking on the occasion, Rajasthan State Industrial development and Investment Corporation (RIICO) chairman Rajeev Swarup said the state government and the Centre are looking at ways to provide quality power to industries at affordable rates. Referring to the success of Japanese industrial zone in Neemrana, he said that has inspired work to commence on a second such zone (at Ghilot) in Rajasthan. Ramesh Abhishek, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, said efforts are on to expedite the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor -- being developed with Japanese help. He added that as part of all the Japanese industrial zones, work is on to set up townships with residential accommodation, educational institutes, playgrounds, hospitals and other necessary social infrastructure for the Japanese.