PM urges BHEL to venture into solar power technology

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday said the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission's success has the potential to enhance India's energy security and urged power equipment major BHEL to get into developing solar power technology apart from its generation.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) to get into development of solar power technology apart from solar power generation.

Dedicating BHEL's piping unit at Thirumayam and high pressure boiler plant in Tiruchirapalli (Trichy) in Tamil Nadu, Manmohan Singh said: "The Jawaharlal ... Mission seeks to develop 20,000 MW of solar power generating capacity by the end of the 13th Five Year Plan."

He said its success has the potential of enhancing India's energy security, and contributing handsomely to efforts to combat climate change.

"I sincerely hope that Bharat Heavy Electricals, which is bestowed with engineering expertise, manufacturing prowess and a commendable human resource base, will not only take the lead in solar energy in terms of power generation but also in the development of solar power technology."

However, he added that it was a "difficult commercial decision, but well worth taking in the long term interest of our country".

He said the operationalisation of BHEL's two new units had taken the company's overall manufacturing capacity to 20,000 MW.

Praising Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for being instrumental in bringing the piping unit to Thirumayam, a backward block, Manmohan Singh said it exemplified the UPA government's "commitment for the development of the backward regions of our country".

According to the prime minister, the country needed to expand manufacturing substantially both in absolute terms and as a proportion of the gross domestic product (GDP).

"Only this can enable us to generate productive employment for our large and growing labour-force.

"BHEL is not only one of our foremost manufacturing companies, but is also contributing to our efforts for expanding manufacturing by helping us make our economy more competitive," he said.

Citing the government's plan to add over 100,000 MW including renewables in the 12th Plan, Manmohan Singh said that in the 11th Plan period the country added around 55,000 MW of generation capacity.

"Out of this Bharat Heavy Electricals alone accounted for almost half. This shows the critical role the company plays in one of the key sectors of our economy," he said.

He said BHEL's unit in Trichy spread over 300,000 sq metres was one of the biggest in Asia.

Manmohan Singh expressed happiness that BHEL had taken the initiatives for the development of ultra super critical technology in line with the mission to deploy clean coal technologies.

"We need to develop ways and means to reduce our carbon footprint through technological innovation.

"In our country, more than 50 percent of power comes from coal-based generation, which is a major emitter of greenhouse gases," he said.

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