The government is exploring options of running agricultural pumps and telecom towers on solar power, Union Minster for New and Renewable Resources Dr. Farooq Abdullah said here on Monday.

Dr. Abdullah said that the Punjab and Haryana governments alone had spent Rs. 6,500 crores as diesel subsidy to farmers for running sets to pump groundwater for irrigation.

He said that his Ministry was exploring the possibility of using solar power to generate energy to operate these pumps.

Fossil fuel

“Apart from bringing down the spending on diesel subsidy, this would reduce the use of fossil fuel,” Dr. Abdullah said at a meeting organised by the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry on ‘Opportunities and Scope of Renewable Energy in West Bengal'.

Dr. Abdullah also said that his Ministry had invested in a project to run 100 telecom towers on solar power.

“There are 8,000 telecom towers in the country that have generator sets running on diesel….If the project is effective, it will gradually be extended to develop others,” he said.

Important mission

Describing the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission as the “most important” of the eight missions in the National Action Plan for Climate Change, Dr. Abdullah said that expertise had to be found to achieve the mission's goal of producing 20,000 MW by 2022.

Charting the progress of the mission launched in January this year, Dr. Abdullah said that while allocations for projects of 100 MW had already been given, projects worth another 750 MW would be allotted by the end of September.

“The sky is the limit for energy from renewable resources in the country,” Dr. Abdullah said, adding that an estimated 87,000 MW could be generated from renewable energy.

Wind energy

He said that the country had done well in developing wind energy that has a potential of 48,000 MW.

“West Bengal will have to play a major role in the tidal wave energy sector,” he said, adding that a 100 MW demonstration project had already been set up in the Sunderbans.