Outlining the outlook of the government’s energy policy, state Energy Minister Saurabh Patel on Sunday stressed upon cutting subsidies and instead looking at ways to provide monetary compensation for generation of renewable energy.
Speaking at a seminar on “Renewable Energy — Opportunities in Gujarat and India,” on the concluding day of the three-day Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, Patel said that the farming community accounts for nearly 35 per cent of power consumption, and changing the subsidy model will have a lasting impact. “What the farming community consumes, is highly subsidised. So, we have come up with a new scheme, named Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY). In Gujarat, 15 feeders are currently operational, another 15-20 feeders will be operational by January-end. Around 10,000 farmers would have participated by February. Under this scheme, we give them solar panels, they generate and consume the power and the remainder power will be bought by us (government). The objective is to allow them to make Rs 1,000 per month by selling power to us. The additional income will benefit farmers.”
“For the first time, we can inject power in an 11kVA transmission line. This means any individual or corporate body, up to 4MW, can put up solar panels and can inject power after signing a power purchase agreement (which can be done for a period of 25 years) with a utility and the price at which it will be purchased, will be the last price in the tender. This price will be valid for six months. So we are targeting 2,000 MW via this method, in Gujarat. We won’t be providing any subsidies, but this will ensure that the power you generate is purchased for 25 years,” he added.
Expanding on Patel’s new subsidy model, Anand Kumar, secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said, “The concept has changed. Today, if you have land and you want to set up your own solar power (plant/panel), you can. But then there won’t be any assistance of the government, because technological disruptions have made rates fall. Private sector investment is viable and thus after you have done 50 per cent of your job, we can give you priority in transmission.”
Meanwhile, looking at opportunities in the field of offshore wind, Patel said that the meetings were held with European Union manufacturers to discuss it on Saturday, wherein a “commitment of 1,000 MW has already been given”.
“Gujarat has decided to buy this power at Rs 3.50 (per unit). 1,000 MW will be bid by the CECI by end of the year,” he added.