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Coimbatore corporation submits draft plan for “solar city” project

According to reports, in a step to conserve energy, the city corporation, on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 submitted a draft plan for the Solar City project, part of the Union Ministry of New and Renewable energy project. The meeting was attended by senior officials of Coimbatore Corporation and  TANGEDCO to discuss the various steps to be initiated as part of the project.

However, it was decided that the draft plan would be revised and resubmitted as some of its statistics evoked mixed response from stake holders, especially TANGEDCO officials. The consultants have been asked to crosscheck and revise the draft report. The revised draft report will include the suggestions from officials who participated in the review meeting and finalised before it is submitted to the central government ministry for approval.

“Some statistics about power supply mentioned in the report do not tally with our department records and we have asked them to cross check and resubmit the figures. The reports say that total electrical energy requirement of Coimbatore is actually 1800 megawatts but the report states it is around 600 megawatts,” said A Thangavelu, chief engineer, TANGEDCO, Coimbatore region.

As per the draft plan the projected energy consumption of Coimbatore in the year 2018 is placed at 4823.51 Million Units (mu) and a 10 percent conventional energy reduction of 482.35mu by tapping solar energy in the commercial, residential, industrial and government sector is the main objective of the solar city project.

Coimbatore is one among 60 cities selected across the country and the only city in Tamil Nadu where the project will be implemented. The energy reduction objective is to be achieved in the next five years. “After incorporating the suggestions and cross checking the figures a revised master plan will be submitted and we expect the final plan to be sent to the ministry within 15 days,” said Ravi Ranjan Guru, manager (Energy and Climate), ICLEI- local government for Sustainability, New Delhi.

ICLEI is the nodal organisation associated with Coimbatore Corporation in the Solar City project. The master plan also emphasises on the creation of a Solar City Cell at the municipal corporation to implement the proposals of the solar city project. The cell will be headed by a technical officer at the level of an executive engineer or above. The municipal corporation is also expected to carry out a massive awareness campaign to ensure that the use of solar energy is popularised and promoted among the public.

“Some simple methods proposed include the introduction of solar water heaters, cookers, biogas cooking methods etc in residential, commercial and hospitality sectors,” Guru added. The meeting also discussed the possible incentives that could be introduced for those who promote solar energy in their homes and commercial establishments. The suggestions put forth include a fixed percent rebate in property tax, power tariff and also special subsidies from the government to promote the project among public.

The city corporation has also been asked to propose pilot projects with special incentives to the users to promote renewable energy. All pilot projects should be executed in the first year of implementation. The total investment of all proposed pilot projects as per the draft plan is 369 lakh out of which the central government will provide 110.8 lakh and the state will contribute 148.22 lakh and the users will have to contribute 110.5 lakh.

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