Proposal to bring hydel projects under ‘clean energy’ category finalised
To offer a leg-up to India’s renewable energy generation capacity target, which is 225 gigawatts (GW) now, the government wants to bring large dams under the ambit of ‘clean energy’.
“We have finalised a proposal to include hydel under renewable energy category,” said Union Power Minister R.K. Singh, at the renewable energy conclave—RE-Invest—in New Delhi. “Within a month, we will place this proposal before the cabinet,” he added.
The minister further said the proposal was prepared in consultation with other relevant ministries.
According to the estimates of ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), bringing hydel projects under clean energy category will add about 22 GW to the renewable energy generation capacity.
However, the solar sector, which is by far the largest contributor with 75 GW, is now ailing. So far, the government does not have a clear policy for solar manufacturing under its Make in India programme.
Most Indian manufacturers are involved in the last stage of assembling solar panels and a solar innovation fund of Rs 509 crore has been announced for the purpose. However, only a handful of private producers in the country have the capacity to manufacture solar cells.
Singh said his ministry is also formalising a specific solar manufacturing policy to look into the problems of manufacturers. Most domestic manufacturers of solar panels are facing problems owing to rise in customs duty of solar panels.
A differentiated GST duty structure for solar panels and cells sold in market is also impacting producers.
“We have asked for a reduction in safeguard duty during our meeting with the minister today,” said a top executive of a solar manufacturing firm, on the sidelines of the conference.
Singh said the government hopes that the country becomes self-sufficient in solar manufacturing capacity so that his ministry can make a case for reducing the prohibitive duty on solar imports.
“I hope one day we become self-sufficient enough that anti-dumping duties no longer needs to be levied, ” Singh told.