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Korean firm to set up 330-MW solar projects in Kerala

According to reports, the State Cabinet on Wednesday gave the green signal for setting up solar projects in various parts of the State with a combined generation capacity of 330 MW.

Addressing a press conference soon after the weekly Cabinet meeting here, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the solar project would be established by the Korean company Hanjong Energy and Technology Pvt. Ltd. The company had promised to provide power at Rs.3.25 a unit or in accordance with the power tariff fixed by the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission, whichever was less. The first 30-MW project would be set up within six months. The government will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Korean company soon, he said.

According to sources in the Power Department, the first one would come up in Palakkad within six months. The rest of the projects would be established within a two-year period. The on-grid solar project proposal is the first of its kind to come up in the State. The proposal had figured in the Emerging Kerala event. Later, the Korean team made a follow-up visit leading to the proposal coming up before the Cabinet. Sources in the solar power industry point out that it will require five acres to set up a solar power plant of one MW. However, the total cost of the 330-MW combined generation proposal is not known, with government sources pointing out that the details will be worked out after the MoU is signed.

The Chief Minister sought to bring more clarity to an earlier Cabinet decision to establish an Investment Promotion Council and an Investment Clearance Board. With a view to providing a big role for successful Kerala entrepreneurs, it had been decided to set up a third body named Investment Promotion Board, comprising mainly representatives of investors and successful industrialists. The Investment Promotion Council, headed by the Chief Minister and with other Cabinet Ministers as members, will decide on policy matters. The Investment Clearance Board will be headed by the Chief Secretary.

In reply to a question, Mr. Chandy said that at present the government did not consider it necessary to give a statutory character to the proposed council or board, but was not averse to taking a decision in this direction in case there was a necessity.

As a follow-up to the Emerging Kerala summit, the Cabinet gave its approval for the conduct of five major seminars that would take forward the Industry Department’s initiatives for Emerging Kerala. The seminar on electronics and hardware would be held in Kochi in November, followed by one on food and agro-processing in December, life sciences in January 2013, and petrochemicals in February 2013. This would be followed by a seminar focused on small and medium enterprises.

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