Karnataka’s energy sector appears to be going green as the State is set to add more quantum of renewable energy to its grid during 2017-18 than conventional power. Of the total quantum of 3,975 MW of power to be added to the grid in 2017-18, renewable energy accounts for 2,375 MW. The proposed capacity addition of 2,375 MW of renewable energy includes 1,000 MW of solar power from the Solar Energy Park in Pavagada of Tumakuru district, according to the proposals for the energy sector in the State budget-2017 presented by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday. Of course, the remaining quantum of 1,600 MW would come from two generating units with a capacity of 800 MW each at the newly set up Yeramarus Thermal Power Station near Raichur.
However, much against the spirit of reforms adopted by the State to reduce the subsidy and also ensure that it is target-oriented, the budget proposes to increase the quantum of free power being given to beneficiaries under the Bhagya Jyothi Scheme to 40 units a month from the present level of 18 units. In an effort to address the financial burden of Escoms and the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL), which are affected as the vilalge panchayats owe electricity bill dues of ₹ 3,766 crore, the budget has proposed to pay up the arrears. This is bound to ease the financial burden of not just these power utilities, but also that of consumers as there is no possibility of such a burden being passed on to them in the form of tariff hike.
Also, the budget has proposes to develop five villages from each of the 224 assembly constituencies into model electricity villages by initiating measures for ensuring efficient consumption of power. A total grant of ₹14,094 crore has been earmarked for the power sector for 2017-18 as against ₹12,632 crore previous year.
Total capacity addition envisaged – 3,975 MW
Renewable power – 2,375 MW
Conventional power 1,600 MW
Monthly free power quota under Bhagya Jyothi scheme increased from 18 to 40 units.
Total grants for power sector – Rs. 14,04 crore