By Alok Brara, Publisher, PowerLine
We have turned 25! And it’s time for another anniversary issue.
Going into this special issue and planning for the year ahead, we were searching for a theme, or a motto. Ideas were thrown around and the one that stuck and was immediately embraced by all was “Celebrating the Past, Focusing on the Future”.
You will see the theme, or motto, reflected in this editorial, across the issue and over the year. Celebrating achievements of the past. And focusing on changes and challenges of the future.
First the celebration.
Twenty-five years ago, when we launched Power Line, our mission and goal was to be the leading power sector magazine and also the most trustworthy source of information. A magazine that compares with the best in the world. A magazine that the Indian power sector deserves and can be proud of.
Today, we are by far the number one magazine in the Indian power sector. We have been called an “encyclopedia” by one union power minister and the “Bible of the power sector” by another. Our clients tell us ours is one of the best power magazines in the world, if not the best.
We have expanded our footprint, in more ways than one. From magazines on to research reports, websites and conferences. From the power sector on to transportation, communication and urban infrastructure. From India on to Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa and the Americas.
We are proud that we reached this far without compromising our independence and our integrity. That we did not sell our editorial for advertising. That we did not cut corners, from fact-checking to proof-reading.
We are particularly proud of our performance during Covid. We did not miss a single issue. We did not reduce the number of pages. We increased the number of conferences. We did not lay off anyone.
Just one thought (for now) about what we hope to do in the future. In addition to information and analysis, we will seek to bring you more insight and more opinion. Not just from our own analysts and writers but also from those more directly involved with the issues and challenges of the sector. We want to be a platform for all stakeholders and all voices. And to that end, I would invite you all to use our magazine and the website for expressing your views.
This is a special commemorative issue to mark our 25th anniversary. So in this issue, you will find some celebration, some nostalgia and also some self-indulgence. Photographs from past functions and get-togethers. Most memorable covers. Pictures of people we have profiled over the years. And, immodestly, praise from the powers-that-be.
But you will also find serious, substantive interviews and write-ups highlighting the achievements of the past, the challenges that still remain with us, the changes that are coming and the strategies we will need.
You will certainly find discussion of the past – of the Electricity Act, of the national grid, of smart metering, of increase in generation capacity, etc. But you will find more on the future – on decarbonisation, on green hydrogen, on energy storage, on virtual PPAs, on green open access, on EV charging infrastructure, etc.
There are interviews with the veterans of the sector – a union power minister, secretaries to the government, the first central regulator, public sector CMDs and private sector CEOs. But there are also write-ups from the next-gen leadership – from NGOs, from think tanks, and from those striking out on their own.
In fact, there can be no better testimony to what we have achieved and where we are today than the most illustrious and diverse list of contributors to this issue. They all have very busy schedules but have taken the time to put their views on paper or meet with us to share the same. For this, we are very grateful.
We are also grateful to the more than hundred sector experts who participated in our survey to share their views on achievements, failures, challenges, changes, technologies and policy measures. I would encourage you to look at the survey results, featured right in the beginning. You will find more insight in these 7-8 pages than in most reports on the sector.
We also asked these experts to name the individuals who have made the biggest contribution to the sector. We wholeheartedly agree with their top two choices – Suresh Prabhu and R.V. Shahi.
In addition, you will find in this issue historical data on just about every aspect of the sector, which our analysts have compiled, to chart and illustrate the progress that has been made over the past 25 years.
All in all, we hope that it is an issue worthy of our 25th anniversary.
We normally use this column in anniversary issues to share our own take on the sector. In this particular issue, we are going to leave that to the others.
Except to say that we are on the verge of the most exciting changes and perhaps the most promising chapter of the Indian power sector. Decarbonisation and decentralisation. Competition and choice. Enabled by technology and driven by the new generation.
Power Line, of course, will be there to chronicle it all.
Finally, and most importantly, a big thank you to all our readers, contributors and advertisers. As we have said before, we could not have made it this far without their support. Every subscription, every write-up and every ad has helped. We hope that they will continue with that support.