Investing in renewable energy projects is set to get cheaper with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) promising low-cost funds from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF). Announcing this at the ‘Indo-US joint regional workshop on integrating renewable energy generation’ here on Wednesday (organised by the Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited), Alok Srivastava, Joint Secretary, MNRE, said the high rates of interest on loans was proving to be a deterrent for investors.

“The loans at present attract around 12 per cent interest and investors want this percentage reduced to around 8 per cent. The NCEF funds will come to the MNRE as a grant. We will use these funds to provide loans at reduced rates of interest. Around 50 per cent of the project funding can be obtained from these funds and the rest from bank loans. This will reduce the overall rate of interest,” he said.

Mr. Srivastava said the Generation Based Incentives (GBI) scheme for wind energy producers was being viewed positively and the matter would be put up before the Cabinet for clearance soon, with the Finance Ministry agreeing to GBI better than the previous years. He also said the MNRE was planning to work in the area of storage of renewable energy.

Speaking later, M.R. Sreenivasa Murthy, Chairman of Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC), spoke about the State’s contribution to the production of renewable energy. “The State consumed 57,000 mu (million units) in 2012, which accounts for 7 per cent of the country’s total consumption — 900 billion units. On the other hand, 14 per cent of the total renewable energy produced in India is from Karnataka,” he said.

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