COVID-19: States taking economic package must not act biased against RE, says Tata Power CEO Praveer Sinha
He said that this is an opportunity to move away from high carbon businesses in order to reduce emissions and move to sustainable energy
New Delhi: The government should encourage renewables and ensure that states taking the economic stimulus package to minimise the impact of COVID-19 are not biased against renewable energy (RE) projects, according to Praveer Sinha, chief executive officer, Tata Power.
He said that this is an opportunity to move away from high carbon businesses in order to reduce emissions and move to sustainable energy.
“Renewables must be encouraged and protected as current steps of ‘must-run’ status, scheduling of power, etc, do not move the needle with discoms, so the central government should ensure that states taking the economic stimulus package do not act biased against RE projects,” Sinha said in a recent webinar on ‘Economic Recovery Plan’ conducted by the Global Strategic Communications Council.
According to a fresh paper on sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19 by Delhi-based Climate Trends, Centre and state governments should demarcate specific budgets to commission studies on grid balancing with increased share of renewables and energy storage.
The study said that the discoms should be instructed to ensure steady payments to RE generators even after the lockdown is lifted. It added that the government should provide support to decentralised RE companies through extension of loan moratorium periods, access to low-cost capital, and incentives for focussing on priority sectors.
On the government’s plans to close down 30,000 megawatt of existing coal capacity which are old, Sinha added, that the Centre should identify more old coal plants and whether there is a need to build more since better solutions such as renewable energy with storage, which are cheaper than coal, have come.
Many companies have had to pay fixed costs for electricity despite being closed during lockdown which would not be the case if they were independent in generation. “The economic stimulus package can lead to new ways of generation and consumption of electricity,” Tata Power CEO added.
The paper also suggested that the ministry of new and renewable energy should appoint the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission for oversight of measures such as postponement of taxes, and a cushion against rupee depreciation against the US dollar for RE projects to minimise the COVID-19 impact on the sector.
Sinha added that in these difficult times people should also think about becoming self-sufficient by generating their own energy through rooftop solar, decentralised renewable energy and storage while saving money in the long-term.