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State-owned NTPC has decided to shut down old polluting power plants of capacity totalling roughly 11 GW and replace those with new ones which are highly efficient, Power Minister Piyush Goyal told the Rajya Sabha today.
Replying to questions, the Minister said there is no proposal to discontinue thermal power plants and the older plants should be gradually phased out, and new ones should be set up. "NTPC has already decided to close down roughly 11,000 MW of old thermal plants which are polluting and causing distress in the local areas also and not good for the country.
"We are planning to replace these with new power plants which are highly efficient...super critical technology power plants," Goyal said. He also said there was international ban on thermal plants.
"We are still dependent on thermal power and will continue to depend for some more years to come until new technologies come in," the Minister said. Regarding hydro power projects, Goyal said there were issues like land acquisition, forest and environment clearances, local agitations and dispute between states on water sharing.
Citing an example of Lakhwar multi-purpose project, he said it is a matter of "grave concern" that despite all approvals, states concerned are yet to agree on sharing the benefits. He said Supreme Court has stopped 24 projects in Uttarakhand from development in Ganga-Bhagirathi basin.
"In such a situation, new investment in the sector is very difficult to attract till all the old issues are resolved as investors are also wary" about their investments, the Minister said and added "We are very keen that hydro projects should be promoted".
He also said that a generating company intending to set up hydro generating station is required to obtain concurrence of Central Electricity Authority (CEA) for schemes involving capital expenditure of Rs 1,000 crore and above.
No detailed project report (DPR) of hydro electric project to be set up in Uttarakhand has been received from the state government and private sector during the last on year for approval of CEA, Goyal said.
However, project proposals have been received in Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) from Uttarakhand in 2016-17, he said, adding these include Bijapur Canal MHP (100 kw), Bahadarabad MHP (400 kw) and Purukul SHP (1000 kw).
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