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Sameer Gupta, Managing Director, Jakson Power Solutions

24 Dec 2012

He became part of the family-owned business in 1990 and was instrumental in Jakson Power Solutions’ foray into areas spanning from manufacturing of generating sets, control panels, high-tension switchgear, acoustic enclosures to undertaking of turnkey EPC contracts, solar power projects and now its venturing into hospitality sector. An alumni of the Indian Institute of Management, Sameer Gupta, Managing Director, built a strong foundation of the group with his far sightedness and business acumen. In a recent interview with InfralinePlus, he gave his views on various issues pertaining to the energy sector.

Our power sector is largely dependent on thermal power. However, with the recent issues in coal block allocation and increase in import duty on coal, we need alternatives. Which can be the best alternative in your view?

Though the dominance of coal in power production would continue, the alternatives to coal are gas, renewables and nuclear energy. Almost 60 per cent of power in India is produced by thermal plants. We are at number three position worldwide in coal production and our coal reserves are enough to serve us in the foreseeable future. The limitations on harnessing the full potential, however, are environmental concerns, the need to preserve forests and the dependency on government-owned companies.

Subsidies and price controls which result in the selling price of power being lower than its cost of production are hampering investments in this sector. We foresee popularity and acceptability of renewal power in years to come as we approach grid parity and the government increases its focus on environmental issues.

Nuclear energy had taken off on a good note, but Fukushima brought everything to a halt. What is your view of the future of nuclear power in India?

I feel a sizeable portion of our total capacity addition would come from nuclear power, it being the fourth largest source of electricity. Plus, we have sufficient reserves of uranium which can be used for producing power.

As per estimates, we will be producing around 5000 mw from nuclear sources very soon and it will be around 45000 mw within the next 10 years. Nuclear reactors which would contribute to 5000 mw are ready and should get commissioned within one year. There have been protests about atomic energy being clean and safe but necessary steps are being taken to address these concerns. The Indo-US Nuclear Agreement will also help us to enhance our power generation capacity.

How much should we invest to increase our nuclear capacity? And what can we learn from Fukushima?
India has a vision of generating close to 65,000 mw power from nuclear sources by 2032. This translates into sizable investment in this area. The learning from Fukushima should be that significant focus should be around safety including evacuation plans and creating awareness.
We are producing over 25,000 mw from renewable sources at present. Can it play a bigger role in future?
Renewable power contributes to around 10 per cent of the total power generation capacity in India. This is expected to be at around 15 per cent by 2020 or in other words close to 45,000 mw would be generated from renewable sources within the next 10 years. The main source of renewable power would be wind and solar though there are initiatives to focus on other non-conventional energy sources as well.
The ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission aims to deploy 20,000 mw of solar energy in India by 2022. Do you think such initiatives may help us achieve grid parity?

JNNSM is one of the major initiatives of the government to promote solar power and would help establish India as a global leader in this segment.

Its first phase has been a huge success and would add to 1000 mw capacity on the grid by 2013. The technological advancements and the fact that the price of solar cells have globally come down drastically has already brought down power cost from around `15 per unit a few years back to `8 today. Government policies such as anti-dumping duty or Indian content policy would have a significant role to play in achieving grid parity. We believe that the government should encourage introduction of modern and efficient technology for new solar power plants which will help the nation in times to come. At current rate of price reduction and the fact that power cost from SEBs is going up, grid parity can come within five years.

(InfralineEnergy thanks Sameer Gupta, Managing Director, Jakson Power Solutions for sharing his valuable insights with our readers. The column 'In-Conversation', is a platform to engage experts from various sectors to share their views on the different transformations happening in the Indian energy sector.)