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New Himachal power policy to tap solar energy

According to reports, Himachal Pradesh government has decided to come out with new power policy to harness solar energy. Chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday said that state government was endeavouring to preserve the depleting conventional resources to meet the increasing demand of power.

He said state government soon would come out with a new Power Policy with a view to harness the solar energy. Besides, possibilities of more hydro power and other non-conventional power resources were also being explored in the state, he added.

He said that HIMURJA with the support of ministry of new and renewable energy government of India, is organizes various functions to create awareness about use of eco-friendly renewal energy which had no recurring fuel cost. He said the development and more use of renewal energy sources could lead to sustainable and environment friendly energy security in the state.

Having exploited the hydro potential of state in a big way, now government is also going to tap the solar energy. Virbhadra Singh said that state government had reserved the small hydro power projects up to 2MW capacity exclusively for the Himachalis whereas preference was also being given to them in the projects up to 5MW capacity.

Recently chief minister had informed the 14th finance commission members in Shimla that over 95 per cent of the total 23000 MW exploitable hydro power capacity available in the state had been allocated and the upfront premium received in this respect.

He said that per unit sale rate of power has come down from Rs 7 to about Rs 2-3 per unit. This has dampened the interest of the independent power producers who have been allotted power projects; besides they are unable to attain financial closure, he added. He requested the commission to recommend to the Government of India to permit Himachal Pradesh to levy generation tax on hydro power produced within the state.

He further mentioned that bill for taxation on generation of power within state has been passed by the State Legislative Assembly and was waiting Presidential assent. He clarified that article 288(2) of the Constitution enables the state to impose this tax.

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