Himachal may not achieve renewable energy target

October 13, 2017 04:05 PM

Punjabi News Express/Y.S.Rana
CHANDIGARH: The state of Himachal Pradesh may not achieve the target of generating 700 MW renewable energy by 2022 though the state has the highest Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) target among all the Indian states.  It is stated by Mr K.L. Thakur, Project Director, HIMURJA while talking to HTW on telephone. He said that due to some provisions compulsion, the target has been decreased.    

The state of Himachal Pradesh  is not the most sought-after location to set up solar power projects yet, but the state government is making all out efforts to tap maximum renewable energy, says he.  The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has fixed the target to have an installed capacity of 776 MW by March, 2022, he reveals.

The official further stated that the state plan to source at least 19 per cent of its total electricity demand from renewable energy sources which also included three per cent from solar energy.  He admitted that despite bumpy progress, the state government was committed to achieve 100 per village electrification by May 1, 2018.

Demul village in Spiti at 14,400 feet above sea level has little access to conventional energy and remained in darkness throughout the year. The state government has installed a micro grid system to provide solar-powered home light in every household through solar powered vaccine fridge at Kaza which benefits around 300 villagers. It cost the government around Rs 11.95 lakh.

The state has 17882 villages and as on August, 2017 only seven villages have not been electrified. In case of household electrification, of 14.70 lakh households, 14.51 households were provided ‘switch on’ facility. Remaining 0.19 lakh households will be provided electricity by March, 2018. State has the distinction of achieving 100 per cent intensive electrification of un-electrified village and state has electrified 15,763 BPL households so far.

At the current prices, average investment required is about Rs 7 crore per MW generation and therefore it requires a huge investment of about Rs 1600 crore to set up about 220 MW capacity to meet RPPO of three per cent as set up by the HPERC.

 At present, the state is purchasing solar power from 35 MW capacity plants of NTPC and Solar Energy Corporation of India located outside Himachal Pradesh. The state government has sanctioned 25 SPV power plants at various government buildings. The state government is providing subsidy up to 90 per cent for SPV plants being installed in government buildings and up to 70 per cent in residential and social sector.

According to HIMURJA official the government also offering incentives such as generation-based incentives, capital and interest subsidies, viability gap funding, concessional finance and fiscal incentives to promote renewable energy.

Around 250 SPV power plant of one KW capacity each have been sanctioned for individual household. Of these, 152 SPV plants have been installed and remaining would be installed soon. To popularize the use of renewable energy, the government is also providing funds under the SC Component Plan for installation of SPV Street Lighting Systems in SC villages with a population of 40 per cent or more.

Besides, over 8000 SPV lights have been installed under this programme and apart from this 55,230 SPV CFL Type lantern; 22,586 SPV Home Lights and 674 SPV LED home lights have been installed in the state.

Remote Village Electrification programme aimed at providing financial support for electrification of those villages and hamlets where electrification through grid extension was neither feasible nor cost- effective. During the 11th Five Year Plan, MNRE set a target for
electrification of 7,000 villages and electrified 5,229 villages.

Progressively from 2007-08, the coverage under the Remote Village Electrification programme declined over the years. No targets were fixed by MNRE for the years 2012-13 and 2013-14. It was also observed that the release of Central Financial Assistance decreased from ` 132.81 crore in 2007-08 to ` 17.92 crore in 2013-14 and this was not commensurate with the targets.

Audit observed that in some States there were mismatches between the list of remote villages verified by Rural Electrification Corporation Limited, those sanctioned by the MNRE and the villages actually reported as covered by the States. In Assam and Chhattisgarh villages already covered under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana, were also
taken up under this Programme.

There were instances of non maintenance of data to evidence functionality of systems under Remote Village Electrification. Monitoring reports were not available as per the scheme guidelines. There were deficiencies in the maintenance of systems due to under
collection of user charges and deficiencies in maintenance arrangements.

Physical verification of sampled systems by Audit revealed that 20 per cent of the Remote Village Electrification systems were not working and six per cent of the systems were found missing, indicating poor maintenance and monitoring.

Micro grid is becoming a new ray of light for remote villages of hilly state.

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