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Climate Parliament group asks Finance Minister to incorporate financial measures for renewable energy in budget

According to reports, in a pre-budget exercise, the Climate Parliament group of Members of Parliament asked the Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram to incorporate a series of financial measures for renewable energy in the Budget 2013-14, so that the targets set in the National Action Plan of Climate Change (NAPCC) and in the draft 12 Plan document, presented recently to the National Development Council, are met fully.

The MPs emphasised that sufficient budget allocation is crucial for a time bound development of transmission network and grid infrastructure for renewable energy absorption and supply, in tandem with the renewable energy capacity addition plans in the country.

The Climate Parliament group of MPs had recently met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and submitted a memorandum. Dr. Singh had assured the MPs to positively look into the demands of viability gap funding for encouraging private sector investments in the enhancement of transmission infrastructure for renewable energy, additional central assistance to such States that install progressively higher infrastructure for feeding renewable energy based electricity to the grids, establishing a partial risk guarantee fund for renewable energy projects and implementation of the Estimates Committee’s 13 Report with respect to increasing the allocations of Renewable Energy Ministry to one per cent of the total national budgetary allocation.

The MPs also asked the Finance Minister to implement the assurances given by the Prime Minister in the coming Budget. The letter submitted to the Finance Minister stated that the actual budget allocated to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in 2012-13 was only 50 per cent of the budget suggested by the Planning Commission and 25 per cent of the budget proposed by the MNRE. Thus, some of the key programmes of the Ministry under the first phase of the National Solar Mission have faced serious setbacks due to the lack of adequate budget. According to the Climate Parliament, the achievement of 15 per cent renewable energy in the total electricity mix of the country by 2020 under the NAPCC and the target of achieving 30,000 MW by 2017 (more than the double of the capacity addition targeted in the last five year plan) are challenging ones.

Thus, in the forthcoming Budget, there must be an adequate allocation to the Ministry of Power, specifically for strengthening the transmission network for renewable energy in light of the report “Green Corridors” carried out by Power Grid Corporation of India Limited where it estimates a requirement of Rs. 42,000 crore for establishing the intra and inter-state transmission for renewable energy.

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