Indians Will Have Power Generated From Wind, Hydro, Solar And Biomass Sources

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The interest in renewable energy is growing. Apart from the growing literature circulating on green economy, the impetus has come from Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, which has created the framework for the deployment of 20,000 MW by 2022 in Indiain three phases of five years each. The target of the mission is to raise the capacity of grid-connected solar power generation to 1000 MW by 2013 and an additional 3,000 MW by 2017 through the compulsory use of the renewable energy purchase obligation by utilities backed with a preferential tariff.

Even those companies which generated power through the use of coal are shifting their gear. A case in point is NTPC. It plans to venture into wind, hydro, solar and biomass sources. By 2017, Indias premium and largest power company expects to generate 1000 MW of capacity from renewable energy sources. An investment of INR 480 crore in 2010-11 has already been allocated in this sphere.

The renewable energy consultants observe that the growing concern for environment has made a company like NTPC to diversify into the green sector. On November 24, 2010, the power giant has signed an agreement with the Asian Development Bank and Kyuden of Japan to set up a joint venture company, which would form 500 MW renewable energy projects in the country.

In an effort to reduce tariff for solar power, NTPCs subsidiary NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited has picked 620 MW capacity of grid solar power projects in December 2010 through the mechanism of tariff discounting process, says a renewable energy consultant. The selected applicants plans to set up projects of 505 MW capacity in Rajasthan, 65 MW in Andhra Pradesh, 20 MW in Gujarat, 10 MW in Karnataka and five MW each in Orissa, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has crafted a strategy to promote solar energys off-grid applications such as solar lanterns, home lights, other small capacity photovoltaic systems and solar water heating systems with a 30 percent capital subsidy and/or loan at five percent through NABARD. During 2010-11, NABARD has received Rs 35 crore to subsidise solar lighting systems to be dispersed through regional rural banks across India. The solar energy systems are directly marketed by the manufacturers and system integrators. Guidelines are set by the MNRE for purchase of such systems based on their performance.

Among Indias other companies, Tata Power, Indias oldest and largest private sector utility, plans to step-up its solar generated power capacity to 300 MW in the next five years. It commissioned recently a three-MW solar unit on the banks of the Mulshi lake, near Pune. The company at present produces 3200 MW across the country. The majority of its future capacity setups are likely to come from the western Indian states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan, as these places have abundance of sunlight and conducive policies, says a renewable energy consultant. A 25-MW solar project in Mithapur in Gujarat is being implemented, which is expected to begin commercial operations in December 2011. Tata Power has also commissioned a one-MW grid-connected rooftop plant in Delhi.

In the renewable energy realm, India has large solar energy potential. It is estimated that about 5000 trillion kilo watt hours per year of energy is incident over the countrys land area, with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per square a metre per day.

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