Powerless state scraps 27 renewable energy projects
These projects could have helped bridge demand-supply mismatch; developers accuse the government of apathy
The government may be claiming that it is capable of solving the current power crisis plaguing the state soon, but cancellation of 27 renewable energy projects, which could have generated around 1,000 MW allegedly because of babus' apathy, speaks volumes about the hollowness of such claims.
Out of 27 cancelled projects, nine were wind energy projects which could have generated around 200 MW and helped improve the power scenario in the state
Already crippled by continual power outages, Karnataka had been looking at renewable sources to meet to the demand-supply mismatch. The state generates around 9,061MW, while the demand is around 11,000 MW.
According to the developers, the projects were cancelled due to the government's lackadaisical attitude towards private projects and unceremonious delays in allocation of land.
The government has drawn up an ambitious plan to add around 1,000 MW through renewable sources to the capacity of 4,000 MW every year, as part of its Renewable Energy Policy. Besides this, the powerless state has also committed to give 200 MW to the Centre under Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission by 2015-16.
Of the cancelled projects, nine were of wind energy having an inclusive capacity of 200 MW, while 18 were of solar energy, which could have generated 200 MW in all.
"The wind energy projects were cancelled as not even a single project was able to get clearance from the forest department. Other projects were cancelled because of babus' apathy, which speaks volumes about the hollowness of the government's claims to bridge the demand-supply mismatch in the state.
Besides, the allocation issues have become so problematic in Karnataka that new developers do not want to invest here anymore. They prefer going to Tamil Naidu or Andhra Pradesh," said a renewable energy developer.
Karnataka, that once ranked third in the wind energy sector, has now fallen two notches, and developers fear it will further deteriorate. "It takes years to get clearance for a project in Karnataka, prompting promoters to simply abandon their projects," he added.
The solar projects, on the other hand, were recommended for approval under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) Scheme. The developers alleged that the private developers were simply ignored, while government projects got clearances immediately.
"In all, only four projects were given approval and all of them are government projects. While the remaining 18 projects were rejected based on the recommendations of the Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL)," he added.
According to experts, till the time the government introduces measures to speed implementation of projects, the grim power scenario in the state is unlikely to improve.
"While the government wants to add 1,000 MW every year, in reality only 200 to 300 MW is being added. If it continues this way, the power crisis in the state will not be solved anytime soon," added Narayana Prasad, Member, Renewable Energy Association.
The Renewable energy department officials contested the claims saying everything is on track. They, however, admitted that the capacity addition might get affected. "These projects were cancelled because they couldn't complete the departmental formalities.
However, we are looking at ways to step up the generation of renewable energy. In the solar sector, we already have plans for adding 80 MW for which we already have floated tenders," said N S Prasanna Kumar, Managing Director, KREDL.
The power shortfall in the state. The state generates around 9,061 MW as against the demand of 11,000 MW