Unable to get a single patch of 5000 acre for its ambitious 1,000 MW solar park, the state government is now looking to develop the proposed park in different clusters. Official sources said the chief secretary has asked the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco), state’s nodal agency for land acquisition, to identify land in different districts. The park, to be developed on a public-private-partnership mode, has been approved by the Union ministry of new and renewable energy. The park will come up with an investment of Rs 6,500 crore. The state government has already intimated the Centre that the project would be developed in clusters, said an official source.
The Idco has been asked to identify land in western districts as investors are not willing for project sites in coastal areas which are not suitable to set up solar park. Even Idco has been asked to provide land from land banks, which it has identified in different districts to set up industries. Though the Idco has identified 3,000 acres in Balasore district, investors are not willing to set up their units there. Most of the investors are looking for sites in Nabarangapur, Sundargarh, Balangir and Sambalpur due to high solar irradiance (measure of solar radiation) in these districts, said a senior official in the energy department adding Odisha has an installed solar power of 64 MW.
Odisha’s project is part of the NDA government’s plan to develop 25 solar parks across the country, each with the capacity of 500 to 1,000 MW. At least 12 companies have evinced their interest to set up solar plants provided they get land and other infrastructure supports. Even some of the investors participated in the Make in India conference in Mumbai in February 2014 and Odisha Investors’ Meet in Bengaluru recently also expressed interest to invest in solar projects in the state.
Aiming to generate 3,000 MW of clean energy by 2020-2025, the state government is ready to come up with a renewal energy policy. The policy, which was initially drafted by the science and technology department, was re-drafted by the energy department. After a few rounds of discussion with the chief secretary, the policy would be placed before the cabinet for final approval, said an energy department official on the condition of anonymity.