Go solar at home, with 75 p.c. subsidy on solar home appliances
The Budget, presented by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday, envisages adding 4,814 megawatts (MW) of power to the power-starved State grid in the next three years.
This includes 2,300 MW from Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd., the State’s share of 1,401 MW from the Central generating stations and 1,113 MW from renewable energy sources. But none of them is a new project, though the Chief Minister has been stressing the need to take up new power generation projects.
The only new measure in the power generation sector is the commitment that the State will pursue establishing an ultra-mega power project in the coastal region with the Union government. A similar proposal had been dropped during the BJP regime following protests from environmentalists of that region.
An outlay of Rs. 10,312 crore has been made to the energy sector to support its operations.
Mr. Siddaramaiah has continued the BJP government’s scheme to take up a pilot project to provide solar-powered irrigation pumpsets of up to 5 hp capacity to farmers.
The budget appears to have given importance to harvesting solar energy at the domestic-level as it proposes to subsidise 75 per cent of the cost of solar home appliances. According to power experts, this move would promote utilisation of energy appliances. In addition, it proposes to take up solar rooftop projects and energy efficiency programmes in government buildings to conserve energy. The Chief Minister proposes to take up a project to ensure availability of solar rooftop appliances.
Similarly, a High Voltage Distribution System is being implemented in a division of each one of the five electricity supply companies on a pilot basis to reduce energy losses.
In an indirect attack on the previous BJP regime, Mr. Siddaramaiah observed that the lack of thrust in generation and transmission investment had affected availability of power and resulted in insufficient capacity for transmission and distribution. He expressed concern that KPCL’s income was hit as the power supply companies had defaulted on payment of power purchase dues, forcing the corporation to borrow more to fund its operations. The dues increased from Rs. 2,595 crore in 2006-07 to Rs. 9,531 crore in 2012-13.