Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Energy Minister, Maharashtra, says that the present State government will generate 10,000 MW of renewable power through a new policy.
The Maharashtra government is planning to formulate a renewable energy policy. How soon will the same be in place?
Since the renewable energy sector in the State was unstable due to the lack of a definite policy, our government will be coming out with a fresh policy for renewable energy. A draft of our integrated policy for the renewable energy sector, where we will produce energy through solar, wind and co-generation, should be out in the next 10-15 days. It will be put up on the government website where people will be invited to post suggestions.
Through this policy, we will be able to generate around 7,000 MW of power through solar, 2,000 MW through wind and will also keep our options open for co-generation and bagasse based projects. We are formulating the policy with technical support from the Maharashtra Energy Development Agency, which works for promoting and developing non-conventional and renewable sources of energy. Meanwhile, the policy will have emphasis on both-grid connected and off-grid power supply.
Are you encouraging rooftop solar installations in the State along with ground mounted projects?
At this point, keeping in mind the national target, we have to encourage both options. For that, we are encouraging roof-mounted solar projects across all cities in Maharashtra. We are also encouraging all city councils to make it compulsory to install rooftop solar projects at the time of construction. Some are following and some are not. Meanwhile, we are making available barren land for ground-mounted solar projects so that the issue of land acquisition or conversion of agricultural land to industrial land will not come into the picture.
Meanwhile, the district planning committee has sanctioned Rs 10 crore for the installation of rooftop solar projects atop government offices and universities. We are expecting solar energy will constitute between 30 to 40 per cent of a building´s power consumption.
What will be the salient features of this policy?
There are many, but I would like to divulge one to you. Through this policy, our prime focus is to bring down the cost of solar power production. For which I have asked stakeholders in the industry to provide or manufacture affordable technologies and raw material which will bring down the cost of a solar power project. We also require affordable technologies to generate maximum power from the solar project. The draft policy will encourage such technologies to be incorporated while commissioning any solar project in India.
Meanwhile, what steps is your government taking for upgrading the transmission network in the State? Are you encouraging distribution franchise model in the State?
The Maharashtra government will make all its efforts to minimise transmission losses and improve power generation to make it available at reasonable rates to the consumers. The transmission lines are old, in bad condition and quite lengthy which need to be replaced or upgraded to avoid power failure in urban and rural areas of the State.
We understand that the State government has sent a proposal regarding coal projects to New Delhi. Which coal project are you talking about?
Our government has identified a 50 mt coal mine near Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra border. We have requested the Central government to consider this project which will erase coal shortage issue for the State´s power generation plants. This will also bring down the transportation cost.
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