Purulia to get 250-MW solar project soon, says WB Minister
Kolkata, Aug 12 (IBNS): West Bengal Power and Non-Conventional Energy Sources Minister Manish Gupta on Tuesday said his government plans to set up a 250-MW solar project in Purulia at an estimated cost of Rs 1,400 crore.
“The largest solar project in the country will feed the 900-MW Purulia pumped-storage project of the state electricity distribution utility,” said Gupta during Energy Conclave 2014, a flagship event organized by CII Eastern Region in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Around 40% funds are going to be sourced from the Union Government clean energy fund, and the rest from other sources.
Gupta also disclosed that two more pumped- storage projects – 1,000 MW each at Turga and Bandu in the Ayodhya Hills in Purulia – will be commissioned soon.
Each will cost Rs 6,000-7,000 crore, the Minister said, adding that each of such projects will have captive mega solar power projects in the longer run.
Gupta also spoke of the need for maximum focus accorded to energy security.
“We must introspect what has been happening and why. Why have we not been able to achieve the desired results? In my view, at the heart of the crisis is the shortage of supply of coal. Coal prices per se are increasing, putting enormous pressure on consumers. We need serious reforms in the coal sector. Even if we fully exploit the coal reserves, it will not last more than 30-40 years. Renewable sources are the only solution,” he said.
Neerja Mathur, Chairperson, Central Electricity Authority, said in per capita consumption of power is seen as the index of growth and health of a country’s economy. “Capacity addition is a must to make sure every citizen in the country has access to clean electricity at an affordable price.”
She also listed “two major challenges” impeding the energy sector.
“First, there is an acute shortage of fuel, and second, is the poor financial health of discoms. “It is high time we rationalized coal linkages,” she said.
She also revealed that the Union Government is working on a plan to upgrade technologies at conventional power plants.
“By the end of the 13th Five-Year Plan, all coal-based plans would be upgraded from sub-critical to super-critical categories. This will not only enhance efficiency but will also cut down on fuel requirements,” she said.
Bhaskar Jyoti Sarma, Secretary, Bureau of Energy Efficiency, also underscored the need for improved technologies and rationalization of logistics to ensure optimum utilization of the available resources.
N S Nigam, Chairman & Managing Director, West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (WBSEDCL), said energy requires maximum attention.
“Concerted efforts are needed to make sure that the sector is not only linked to the financial market, but also integrated to whole lot of innovative financial instruments," Nigam said.
Markus Wypior, Director, Indo German Energy Forum, told of the European superpower’s intent on helping India transition from coal-based power plants to the renewable.
“India is more suitable to solar power than Germany because of its climatic advantage. Germany will be happy to provide the technology and expertise, he said.
Aniruddha Basu, Chairman, Energy Task Force, CII Eastern Region & Managing Director, CESC Ltd, said tackling fuel shortages, augmentation of generation capacities, improvement in transmission and distribution, reduction of AT&C losses, customer-driven and cost-effective technology interventions are some of the priorities.
“Renewables have the potential of making the country’s energy basket more competitive and sustainable, so viable business models for mainstreaming them are the need of the hour,” he added.
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