Centre doubles solar park capacity to 40,000 MW

February 22, 2017 10:34 pm | Updated March 21, 2017 01:04 pm IST

The Cabinet has approved the doubling of solar park capacity to 40,000 MW, which will entail an additional 50 solar parks to be set up at a cost to the government of ₹8,100 crore, Minister of New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday.

Mr. Goyal added that while most of the additional 50 solar parks, to be commissioned by 2019-20, will be 50 MW of capacity, the Centre is also considering smaller parks in Himalayan and other hilly states where contiguous land is difficult to acquire.

“The solar parks and ultra mega solar power projects will be set up by 2019-20 with Central Government financial support of ₹8,100 crore,” according to a government statement. “The total capacity when operational will generate 64 billion units of electricity per year which will lead to abatement of around 55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year over its life cycle.”

Mr. Goyal explained that the state governments will first nominate the solar power park developer (SPPD) and will also identify the land for the proposed solar park.

The proposal will then be sent to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for approval, following which the SPPD will be sanctioned a grant of up to ₹25 lakh. Following this, the government will provide central funding assistance of ₹20 lakh per megawatt or 30% of the project cost, whichever is lower.

Nepal hydro project

The Cabinet also approved a ₹5723.72 crore investment for the Arun-3 900 MW hydroelectric plant in Nepal.

“We want to help our neighbours be power surplus just as we currently are,” Mr. Goyal said. “Financial closure of the deal is planned for September this year and the completion period is expected to be five years.”

Towards this, the Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for the existing implementing agency, already incorporated in the name of SJVN Arun-3 Power Development Company (SAPDC) registered in Nepal as a 100% subsidiary of SJVN Limited for the implementation of the project, according to the statement.

The project, located on the Arun river, is expected to provide any surplus power not used by Nepal to India.

Air pact with Greece

The Cabinet gave its nod for signing an air services agreement between India and Greece, wherein both countries shall be entitled to designate one or more airline, which will have the right to establish offices in the territory of the other country for the promotion and sale of air services.

“The designated airlines of the two countries shall have fair and equal opportunity to operate the agreed services on specified routes,” according to the statement. “The designated airline of each party can enter into cooperative marketing arrangements with the designated carriers of same party, other party and third country.”

According to the route schedule, Indian carriers can operate to Athens, Thessaloniki, HerakIion and any three points to be specified later India, and the Greek airlines can establish direct operation to New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai.

Aviation security

The Cabinet also gave its approval to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Australia for the promotion and development of cooperation in civil aviation security.

“The MoU will provide an opportunity to Indian aviation security authorities to share the expertise of their Australian counterparts and enhance the overall aviation security environment in India. The MoU will provide compliance of international obligation as well as enhance promotion in the area of security cooperation between the two countries.”

An agreement between India and Poland on cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors was also approved during the Cabinet meeting.

“The agreement covers various activities in the field of agriculture and allied sector including exchange of information on the current situation in agriculture, the phytosanitary conditions of crops, threats posed by harmful organisms and the threats posed by animal infectious diseases,” according to the statement.

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