December 18, 2018

Not keeping up with green power goal

Patna: The state government has pledged its commitment for a cleaner environment, in both the Governor’s and the budget speech, but it is not keeping pace with its commitment to increase availability of renewable energy while demand for power rises.

A question asked by JDU MLA Shyam Rajak on Friday on solar energy could not be discussed because of the ruckus the RJD was creating. But a written answer power minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav provided gives revealing facts. Bihar is not keeping pace with its commitment to keep on increasing use of renewable energy. It is on the reverse swing. During 2006-7, Bihar generated over 6.86 kilowatts of power through its 13 hydral projects. In 2016-17, production dropped to a little over 1.33 lakh kilowatts. The sharp drop has also got to do with lack of maintenance and the changing nature of rivers they are installed on, experts said.

The minister’s written answer shows that the Bihar Energy Regulatory Commission had passed an order to increase consumption of renewable energy from 6.5% of total consumption in 2016-17 to 17% in 2021-22. The minister conceded that the government has had to purchase Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) to the tune of over Rs 133 crore since it was not able to keep pace with the parameters. Incidentally, Rajak had termed the RPO purchased by the Bihar State Power Holding Company as penalty. The minister, however, said it was not a fine but money to be kept in a separate account to be used for developing renewable energy sources. The minister has spoken about purchasing solar- and wind-generated energy from companies from this year to increase the consumption of renewable energy. The solar power is proposed to be purchased from Solar Energy Corporation of India.

“The state government lacks seriousness about alternative energy. Nodal state agencies like Bihar Renewable Energy Development Agency (BREDA) have been going headless for over two years. The head is a part-time official who has been given a lot of other assignments,” remarked Rajak, stressing that it was unfortunate that the issue could not be discussed inside the House. “I have repeatedly raised the issue of nodal agencies for renewable energy becoming headless. But till date the government has failed to post a person who can dedicate his entire effort for renewable energy,” he said.

Renewable energy expert for Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED), Ashwani Ashok, said presently total consumption of solar energy in Bihar is 150 MWs. “It includes installed and purchase of renewable energy. Compared to other states it lags behind. In Jharkhand it is about 500 MW. He said the state government’s roof-top solar panel projects, which includes installation of solar panels installed in several government and private houses to generate 150 MWs, was still to take off. “It is in process,” he remarked, saying that although there have been initial efforts there was still no concrete proposal to create a solar park on the line of Karnataka.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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