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Government mulls to upgrade existing power plants to Ultra Mega Power Projects: Piyush Goyal

The government is looking at the option of upgrading existing power plants into larger capacity Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs) using clean technology and to offer them in plug and play mode, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said today.

The minister’s comment come a day after Anil Ambani-led Reliance Power terminated the contract for Rs 36,000 crore Tilaiya UMPP in Jharkhand over inordinate delays in land acquisition.

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“We are looking at using the existing infrastructure (power plants) to upgrade to larger capacity, cleaner technology, better technology supercritical plant. It will help us to offer UMPPs in plug and play mode,” Goyal said at a CII event here.

On the Tilaiya project, he said: “The action is as per the contract entered into by the government and UMPP developer. So I leave that action for the government department to decide.”

On the issue of land acquisitions for projects, Goyal said: “I think it is complete misnomer. It is politics at its worse… People have sought to politicise the issue of land acquisition. My experience is that the moment I say I don’t want to acquire the land, there is so much pressure on me that please acquire the land.”

He further added: “My own experience is that whether it is a coal bearing area or areas where we are setting up power plants or areas where we are looking renewable energy parks, the people come to us and say set up (plants) in our area.”

Asked whether government is facing problems in acquiring land for other projects, Goyal said: “I don’t think we have problem anywhere. Everything is going on smoothly. You have to sort out issues bilaterally. Sadly, governments in the past could not take decisions and they vacillated on taking decisions. This government is firm and takes decisions quickly.”

The government is exploring coming out with UMPPs in a more sustainable format and believes that plug and play mode that Finance Minister mentioned in his budget speech, is the way to go, he added.

In his budget speech Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said: “The Government also proposes to set up 5 new Ultra Mega Power Projects, each of 4000 MWs in the plug-and-play mode. All clearances and linkages will be in place before the project is awarded by a transparent auction system.”

Government is expecting to unlock investments to the extent of Rs 1 lakh crore through these five UMPPs.


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