THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Lately, the state has given a major push to generate power from renewable energy sources like solar and wind. However, continued dependence on hydroelectric projects, and weak attempts to encourage private generation have all contributed to make Kerala one of the worst performing states in terms of power generation. This was revealed in the latest Power Report released by the Union Power Ministry. In the last five years, the state could manage only a minuscule seven per cent increase in installed capacity; from 2,486.7 MW in 2013 the installed capacity improved to just 2,846 MW in 2017.
Neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have improved installed capacity by 55 and 79 per cent respectively. Even West Bengal has raised its capacity by 65 per cent. As for Gujarat, the improvement was a whopping 178 per cent in five years. The private sector has a major role to play in all the states that have augmented their capacity by a considerable degree. Even in a Left-dominant West Bengal, the installed capacity of the private sector swelled from 1,370 MW in 2013 to 2,275 MW in 2017, a robust 66 per cent rise.
In Tamil Nadu, private installed capacity rose by 93 per cent, from 8,653.8 MW in 2013 to 16,450.19 MW in 2017, an impressive 90 per cent. In Karnataka, the private sector grew by 114 per cent, from 4,776.9 MW in 2013 to 10,259.71 MW in 2017. In Gujarat, perhaps the only state that runs a profitable power utility, the growth of the private sector has been a relatively unimpressive 17 per cent, from 15,895.3 MW in 2013 to 18,691.38 MW in 2017.
However, Gujarat’s performance has to be assessed in terms of the stupendous 546 per cent growth of the private sector in the seven years till 2013, from a paltry 2,459.2 MW in 2007 to 15,895.3 MW. Though private investment in the state lags far behind in comparison to leading power performers, the state has witnessed a boom in the last four to five years. While the installed capacity of private plants had remained stagnant at 195 MW for seven years till 2013, it has soared to 996 MW in 2017, a 410 per cent growth.