Economy

Power Minister: Focus on being net zero in solar cities

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 27, 2020 Published on November 27, 2020

Solar energy systems .   -  NAGARA GOPAL

PM KUSUM scheme now has incentives to farmers to preserve groundwater table

Solar or green cities will focus on being net zero energy consumption by generating more energy through green sources than they use according to Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and New and Renewable Energy, RK Singh. This goal is a part of the various initiatives on the anvil of the Centre for promotion of clean energy adoption.

“Each State should declare at least one city (either a capital city or any renowned tourist destination) as a solar or green city. Such cities would have green sources as the primary means of meeting energy requirements. There will be rooftop solar, solarised street lights, and waste to energy plants in these cities vehicles in that city can run on electricity and it will be a model city to showcase to the world,” Singh said at the third RE-Invest conference.

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“If the energy requirements cannot be met, there will be fiscal support from the Centre for setting up a solar park in the vicinity of the city to meet requirements. Promotion of electric mobility in these cities will ensure that the pollution levels there are brought down. Since all solar projects will be connected to the grid, any surplus or shortfall will be managed,” he said.

“It is not necessary that there would be 24x7 consumption of just renewable energy in such a city. The focus should be that clean energy generation outpaces the total demand of a city, this will ensure that it is a net zero city. Twelve States have already chosen their cities for this project, most have picked their capital cities, others have opted for the most popular tourism spot,” Singh added.

Solarising cold storages

He also said there are new schemes on the anvil for solarising cold storages and cow shelters. According to Singh, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM) scheme now has elements of accountability in the form of incentives to farmers for preserving the groundwater table.

Singh also said that suggestions from Himachal Pradesh and other States to promote the use of renewable energy will be looked into.

Commenting on the implementation of the KUSUM scheme, Singh said, “Irrigation is required in fields for hardly 150 days a year. For the remaining roughly 200 days, the electricity generated from solar pumps distributed under the KUSUM scheme will be available free of cost to the State government’s DISCOM.”

“Since the electricity will be free for the farmer, there is a possibility that there would be overuse that may adversely affect the groundwater table. To contain this, every farmer would be allotted a projected monthly consumption of solar power based on the existing pump capacity and irrigable farm land. If the water and power consumption remain below that level, there will be a monthly cash benefit to the farmer linked to the electricity savings,” he said.

“Through this, each State will save anything between ₹6,000 crore and ₹12,000 crore in the form of agricultural subsidy for power consumption,” Singh added. “The concerns regarding evacuation of power that have been raised will be addressed. PowerGrid will be developing the required infrastructure in Lahaul and Spiti, and the Chenab Valley. New schemes will be formulated for solarising gau-shalas (cow shelters), and cold storages. This will lower the costs to farmers for using cold storages,” he said.

Manufacturing hubs

Commenting on the setting up of hubs for solar manufacturing, Singh said, “There will be an open competition between States for setting up solar manufacturing hubs. The State which provides land and power at the cheapest rates will be offered the opportunity to host the hub. In addition to solar enterprises, other businesses related to the power sector will also come up where the hub will be established.”

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Published on November 27, 2020
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