The KSEB, whose focus had largely been on hydel and thermal power so far, will be the lead player in this race to harness renewable energy sources to their fullest.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Switching gears from the ‘traditional’ base of hydropower and coal-based electricity, the new power policy for the state – set to be declared soon – envisages deeper renewable energy penetration for achieving energy security. Harnessing of solar power through roof-top, ground-mounted and floating units garners pride of place in the plan for tapping renewable energy sources. The draft policy is ready and is expected to be handed over to the Cabinet for approval shortly. The KSEB, whose focus had largely been on hydel and thermal power so far, will be the lead player in this race to harness renewable energy sources to their fullest.
Small hydro-electric power projects (SHEP) come second in the list of priorities followed by waste-to-energy initiatives and proposals to increase the non-tariff income of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) through initiatives such hydel tourism. The Power Department has already declared a tentative target of 1,000 MW for increasing the installed capacity in solar power generation in the state during the next three years.
While an overnight shift to renewable energy sources is unthinkable, the idea is to form a solid base in renewable energy. The rationale for the policy shift is founded on the fact that the internal power generation potential is more or less stagnant in Kerala. Hydropower potential is tangled up in environment-related controversies. Ecological concerns also prevent the state from envisaging big thermal power projects. In fact, the draft policy is mum on the proposal to establish a coal-based thermal power plant in the state at Cheemeni, Kasargod, a source said.
The 19th electric power survey by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) paints a grim picture for Kerala which imports 70 per cent of the daily requirement. It states that the total energy requirement for Kerala will rise from 26,770 million units (MU) in 2018-19 to 30,893 MU in 2021-22 and 38,756 MU in 2026-27.
The power policy also underlines the need to revive stalled hydel power projects and strengthen the transmission and distribution networks within the state. The KSEB has already started work on the `10,000 crore TransGrid-2.0 to bolster the transmission system.