Srinagar: The “burden” of power purchasing has prompted the government to “diversify” the solar power sector in the state to meet the electricity requirement.
In the last six-years, Jammu and Kashmir has spent over Rs 28,000 crore on power purchase, mostly from the centre-owned National Hydro Electricity Power Corporation (NHPC).
At the same time, there has been around 50 per cent revenue generation gap over the years
During 2011-2012, Rs 3,761.52 crore was spent on power purchase, which went up to Rs 4,103 in 2012-2013.
About Rs 4,471 crore were spent in 2013-2014 on power purchase, while Rs 5,153 crore, Rs 5,293 crore and Rs 5,524 crore were spent in 2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017, respectively.
The state has spent such a huge amount on power purchase despite having a huge potential of hydroelectricity.
Official documents reveal that the government would “diversify the solar power sector” of the state.
Deputy Commissioners of all 22 districts of the state have been told to identify suitable land for the purpose.
“Projects with minimum 10 MW capacity of the solar power projects are economically viable, for which 400 kanal of land having full sun shine are required,” the documents read.
An official of the Power Development Department said the state has decided to explore the solar power sector in view of “huge burden” of the power purchase on the state exchequer.
JK has second highest potential of solar power in India. As per the study conducted by the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), J&K has a solar power potential of 111.05 GWp, the second highest in India after Rajasthan, which has the potential of 142 GWp. However, JK failed to explore solar power over the years.
“The increasing burden of power purchase on state exchequer has prompted the government to generate solar power,” the official said.
He said the state government is spending huge amount of money on power purchases despite having estimated 20,000 megawatts hydro power potential, of which around 3000 megawatts are being generated.
The NHPC is generating around 2,000 MWs from its power projects, which is almost half of the energy, the power giant generates from its projects in other states.
The J&K gets a share of just 13 per cent from the electricity that NHPC generates in the state. The rest is being supplied to various parts of India.