Cancelled projects scatter renewable energy targets

Non-availability of land and lack of clearance from Forest Dept. are cited as the main reasons

Updated - December 02, 2016 10:55 am IST

Published - October 22, 2016 12:00 am IST - BENGALURU:

Karnataka’s intentions of meeting the Centre’s renewable energy targets appear to be taking as many steps backward as forward — as against a commissioned capacity of 5,684.06 MW, proposals worth 5,064.16 MW have been cancelled until September 2016. This is because a substantially high number of applications for setting up wind, hydroelectric and solar power projects have been cancelled for various reasons by Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd. (KREDL), an organisation that works under the State’s Energy Department to promote renewable energy.

Of the 22,886.7 MW allotted capacity in renewable energy, the KREDL has cancelled applications for the generation of 5,064.16 MW, most of which were for wind energy (4,244.59 MW). The commissioned capacity for wind energy currently stands at 3,129.64 MW.

“Sometimes, they don’t have enough land, and at other times, they don’t have clearances from the Department of Forests. There have also been proposals to set up wind farms in places where there is simply no potential to produce energy from wind,” said a KREDL official.

Land requirement

While the most modest requirement for wind energy farms is four or five acres of land for producing 1 MW of energy, other infrastructure such as the access or approach to farm and the ability to position transmission lines also have to be factored, the official explained.

The belt that is deemed to be most conducive for the setting up wind farms is in central and north Karnataka — Hiriyur, Chitradurga, Davangere, Belagavi, Gadag, and parts of Raichur district.

A small amount of potential is also seen around Chikkamagalur and Hassan. However, among the proposals recommended for cancellation and submitted to the government by the KREDL are applications proposing to set up wind farms in districts such as Bengaluru, Mandya, Chamarajanagar, and Tumakuru.

Clean energy

T.M. Vijay Bhaskar, Additional Chief Secretary, Forest, Ecology and Environment Department, said the government was fully in favour of the setting up of wind farms because they generate clean energy.

But management representative of a well-known company, whose proposal has also been recommended for cancellation, said the availability of land was a big problem.

“Prices of acquiring land have risen considerably. At the same time, conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, as well as getting clearances [to set up wind farms] on forest land, has become more difficult,” he said.

He also blamed the spate of cancellations on people without the required know-how applying for allotments.

Non-availability of land and lack of clearance from Forest Dept. are cited as the main reasons

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