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Sound move on solar-powered water pumps

Sound move on solar-powered water pumps


The news on the renewable energy front is mixed: the nationwide scheme to promote solar-powered water pumps is hugely welcome, but the move to further extend the waiver of transmission charges on solar and wind power projects should be abandoned. Power minister R K Singh has said that the Rs 48,000 crore Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan (KUSUM) scheme to promote solar power among farmers and cultivators would be vetted by the Cabinet in March.

KUSUM aims to empower agriculturists to opt for solar-powered water pumps and also to generate power for extra income. Reportedly, there are several components in the multi-year scheme including installation of 17.5 lakh off-grid solar-powered water pumps, and the solarisation of grid-connected farm pumps adding up to 7,250 MW capacity load. Both off-grid solar pumps and solarisation of grid-connected pump capacity have the potential to improve finances of state power utilities and arrest reckless populism in power via routine giveaways. In parallel, we do also need to boost canal irrigation coverage, so as not to have unsustainable groundwater usage using power pumps.

However, the decision to extend the transmission charge waiver for solar and wind projects till 2022 surely needs reviewing. We do need to step-up line capacity for renewable power projects. In fact, grid infrastructure in India needs rapid scaling up, inter-state and intra-state. The lack of evacuation capacity can well come in the way of the 175-GW target for renewable power capacity by 2022. Given falling generation tariffs for solar and wind projects, we clearly need to devise a similar bidding system to have reasonable tariffs for renewable power transmission capacity. Waiving transmission charges does not incentivise investment in the sector.

Source: blogs.economictimes.indiatimes
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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