According to reports, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation is firming up plans to foray into the solar energy sector by setting up a 1,000-MW solar grid in Karnataka.
ONGC is expected to invest up to Rs 5,000 crore in this project, Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) told Business Line on the sidelines of the ‘Solarcon India 13’ meet.
“Currently, the company is in talks with the Karnataka Government for issuance of Renewable Energy Certificate (REC), power purchase rates and land to set up the 1,000-MW solar power project,” he said.
Confirming ONGC’s interest in Karnataka, M.B. Dyaberi, Managing Director, Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd, said: “ONGC is yet to identify a suitable place for the project, but has initiated talks with us on REC and the rate at which it needs to sell power to state electricity supply companies.”
The concept of REC and efforts of MNRE towards renewable energy have led to several solar power projects taking off in the country.
“At present, small good projects are taking off. But large ones are coming up in a big way in the country, thanks to States taking the lead,” Kapoor said. “With large projects slowly rolling out in the States, rates have become competitive. Recently, the Tamil Nadu Government invited tenders for 1,000 MW. Rates quoted were around Rs 5.70 per unit. Similarly, in Andhra Pradesh, it was Rs 6.49 per unit,” he added.
Other States which are finalising tenders include Karnataka for 130 MW and 1,000 MW and Uttar Pradesh 200 MW. Bihar has already executed a 40-MW project and is exploring a 150-MW project.
Madhya Pradesh has completed a 200-MW project and plans to set up another 300-MW project.
Kapoor said under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) Phase II, projects worth a total of 10,000 MW is expected to go on stream by 2017.
At present, 2,500 MW of power projects have been completed.
In the first phase, an eco system was created which consisted of developing manufacturers, system integrators and entrepreneurs.