The problems ailing the Indian power sector do not have a quick-fix solution and it may take time. Sarajit Sen, MD Power Service, Doosan Power Systems India, says that the country needs comparatively more transparent policies, in an exclusive interaction with Pradeep Pandey.
What is your opinion on the recent government move on coal price pooling that is proposed to be removed? The power producers can use imported coal and after that they can pass over the additional cost to the consumers. Do you think that in this scenario, when the election is ahead, states will able to implement a further tariff hike?
It is not a quick-fix and will take time. Coal price pooling is the mechanism to offset the shortfall of domestic coal supply. I am not too supportive of this pooling mechanism for the reason you know that you can have different targets from different plants based on the location of plants. If it is a coastal plant, you can import coal and use that higher priced coal for a higher tariff structure. Where as pit-head power stations with low fuel costs can generate and sell at a lower tariff structure. So the tariffs can be pooled in from different sources of generation. I am unable to understand how the coal fuel price pooling will work and how it will be regulated. The policy need to be more transparent and is still not clear to us.
How do you assess the coal supply issue in India?
India has a long way to go with the known coal reserves and investment in the mining of coal to meet the demand. Coal is going to be the most important primary energy in the energy mix for India. Coal fired power generation will be about 55 per cent to 60 per cent of the overall portfolio required. In the present situation where there is such a big gap between the supply and demand, we need to keep our old coal plants running but improve their cycle efficiencies to optimize coal usage by seriously embarking on their life extension programme through renovation and modernization.
Can you brief us about your operations in India?
Currently our focus is in the thermal power generation sector, both new build as well as renovation and modernisation. We provide a range of services to the thermal power generation sector ranging from equipment supply to innovative solutions pertaining to the after market business.
Which are the major projects you are working on here in India?
Present ongoing projects are 2 x 670 MWe Supercritical BTG island EPC package for GMR at Raipur, 5 x 800 MWe Supercritical boiler package for NTPC at two locations, HRSGs at Degen and Sugen for Torrent Power Ltd. Recently we have commissioned 3 x 660 MWe Supercritical boilers at NTPC Sipat and 5 x 800 MWe Supercritical boilers at Tata's Mundra plant which are all running satisfactorily. In addition to this, we are also involved in the energy efficient renovation and modernization of 2 x 110 MWe units at Torrent Power Ltd's Sabarmati Thermal Power Station, Ahmedabad and 1 x 210 MWe unit at WBPDCL's World Bank funded project at Bandel TPS, West Bengal.. One of the units at Sabarmati has already been re-commissioned and is successfully meeting the objectives of improved heat rate and up-rated generation of 121 MWe.
What would you consider as being your core segment in India and what kind of growth are you expecting in years ahead?
Our present focus is in the thermal power generation sector with the supply and services of equipment as OEM. We consider India as a second home market after South Korea.
Normally Korean companies have better brand perception here in India as they have worked very well. Doosan has been one of them. Keeping this in mind and looking at the present market scenario, what kind of strategy has the company planned?
We have long term plans to be associated with this market. We have invested in a modern boiler manufacturing facility in Chennai, keeping in mind the need of new installation required in the power sector to meet the projected economic growth. We are focused in the new build and after market segment of the power generation industry.
So far how much you have invested in India and what kind of manufacturing capacity do you have?
As I have mentioned earlier, we want to be part of the power infrastructure growth in this country. We have invested in our people and plant in India. At present we employ approximately 1500 people and have invested in a modern boiler manufacturing facility which has an annual fabrication capacity of approximately 2000 MW.
And what are the number of orders this year?
It has been slow this year. We we given notice to proceed with the 2 x 800 MWe boiler supply contract from NTPC at Lara, a part of the bulk tender won by us.
Was it sourced from Indian manufacturing unit or you have imported from your global manufacturing units?
The manufacture of the bulk tender project of NTPC will be shared between our global manufacturing locations and our Chennai facility to meet the schedule of the project.
Have you seen any kind of drop in orders in the backdrop of economic slowdown coupled with policy hurdles?
Well, I think, development in the power sector has definitely slowed down, a lot of projects have gone on hold due to various issues. However, I am certain that things will revive in the immediate future since power infrastructure is the backbone of economic development. There has to be a good rationale in the healthy growth of the power sector.
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