Due to non-seriousness of the State Government and lack of proper support from the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Jammu and Kashmir is harnessing less than 1% of the available solar power potential and given the prevailing situation nobody knows whether the State would ever be able to make use of this gift of nature to tide over the energy crisis.
According to the official information available with EXCELSIOR, the National Institute of Solar Energy has assessed the solar power potential of Jammu and Kashmir at 111 Gigawatts with the mention that if all out efforts are made to tap this huge potential this border State would surpass all other States in the country as far as generation of solar power is concerned.
However, all the concerned agencies of Jammu and Kashmir have been able to tap less than one percent of the solar potential because of non-serious approach from all the quarters within the State as well as lack of proper support from the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, sources said.
As per the year-wise figures about generation of solar energy, J&K could not generate even single unit of solar energy during 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. However, during the current year the generation up to ending September was only 0.39 Million Units (MU), which is only a bit of the available potential of the State.
“The non-seriousness towards initiating required steps to tap the potential is notwithstanding the fact that there are numerous agencies in the State which have the mandate to promote new and renewable energy sources”, sources regretted while disclosing that besides Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency (JAKEDA) at the State level, there are Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency and Kargil Renewable Energy Development Agency which have been assigned the task of generation of power from renewable sources.
The dismal performance in tapping available potential cannot be solely attributed to the concerned agencies of the State as Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is also not extending required support to the J&K, sources said while pointing towards the fate of Solar City project sanctioned for Leh some years back.
The Ministry had accorded in-principle approval to the Solar City project for Leh with the aim to motivate the local administration for adopting renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures. But till date no formal sanction letter has been issued despite the fact that Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency has approached the Ministry a number of times, sources said.
“As per the provisions of Development of Solar Cities Programme, the Ministry is required to provide funds for formulation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) but this assistance has not been provided to LREDA till date”, sources said, adding “it is a matter of serious concern that the State Government has yet not come forward to persuade the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to issue formal sanction letter and funds for preparation of DPR in order to translate this project into reality”.
“The Ladakh region comprising districts of Leh and Kargil is also fuming over hanging fate of two 7500 Mega Watts Ultra Mega Projects, which were also sanctioned by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy”, sources said while disclosing 5000 Mega Watts solar power project was sanctioned for Leh and 2500 MWs for Kargil and even a formal Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Union Ministry and Science and Technology Department of J&K in the month of March 2014.
Even in the month of May 2014 the State Cabinet accorded sanction to the setting up of two Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects in Ladakh region and thereafter a high-level Coordination Committee was also constituted to give practical shape to the projects.
However, nothing has happened thereafter as a result of which resentment is brewing among the inhabitants of both the districts of Ladakh, sources said.