Special Correspondent

It was to have been released this month

State has potential to tap 15,000 MW of wind power

Emphasis to be on grid-connected solar power projects

BANGALORE: The State Government’s renewable energy policy, which was to have been unveiled this month, will now be released on January 1.

Principal Secretary, Energy Department, K. Jairaj announced this at a “Renewable energy summit and CEOs’ roundtable” organised here on Tuesday by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Mr. Jairaj said the new policy had been delayed because the Government was holding consultations with various groups, industries and experts on the nature of the policy support required for the promotion of the renewable energy sector.

Huge potential

The policy would give importance to solar, wind and bio-mass projects. The State had the potential to tap 15,000 MW of wind power, but only a little over 1,000 MW had been tapped till now.

The Government was thinking of giving emphasis to grid-connected solar power projects. At present, setting up a rooftop solar unit was a costly exercise. Power generated from solar plants would cost Rs. 18 to Rs. 20 a unit. Hence, the cost of generation of solar power had to be brought down by using innovative technologies, he said.

Pointing out that the cost of generation of wind power had reduced from Rs. 15 a unit to Rs. 3 to Rs. 4 now after the scaling up of operations, he hoped that the cost of solar power generation would also similarly come down.

Making a presentation on prospects for bio-diesel in the State, former bureaucrat and Bio-diesel Society of India Chairman V. Balasubramanian said the Government could consider allowing corporates to cultivate plants, in shrub-forest areas, from which bio-fuel could be obtained.

Nearly 21 per cent of the State’s geographical area is covered by forests. Nearly one-third of this is not really forest but inferior land where only shrubs grow. According to a conservative estimate, it is possible to get a minimum income of Rs. 7,000 from 100 plants a year by merely selling the seeds, he explained.

Caution

He cautioned against diverting land being used for cultivation of food crops to grow bio-fuel plants. Such a measure would not only lead to increase in prices of foodgrains but also affect the food chain itself.

ABB Ltd. Managing Director Biplab Majumder, CII Chairman S. Viswanathan, and Convener of the CII’s Energy, Environment and Water Panel S. Chandrashekhar spoke.

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