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Country’s target for renewable energy achievable: Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission chief

According to reports, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Karnataka conference on power highlighted several measures that could be adopted to help ease the current power crisis in the country.

From wind and solar energy, to utilising gas installation for peak-hour power requirements, the conference brought together some of the best minds in the industry to share their views and concerns on the power sector.

MR Sreenivasa Murthy, chairman, Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC), said that the national action plan for climate change constituted in 2008 had recommended that 15% of power generated in the country should come from renewable energy by the end of the decade.

“At the national level, India has just reached 5% currently, which was the target for 2010. Despite the backlog, I am confident that the 15% target is achievable by the end of the decade,’’ Murthy said.

He highlighted that Karnataka was well on its way to achieving the target and could well surpass the target by the next decade. He noted that Karnataka was at 10%—the highest renewable purchase obligation among states in India. Though the compliance was just at 9.9%, it is still a step in the right direction, he said.

On the issue of free power supply to farmers, he said that this was largely a misconception, as the department was not at a loss since the government was footing the bill on behalf of the farmers.

He estimated that around `5,000 crore per year is being paid by the government for power subsidy to farmers. He noted that loss of power due to transmission and distribution was an area of great concern.

He suggested that the state should shift to a high-voltage distribution system to help mitigate some of the losses and also explore additional options to minimise the problem.

Amita Prasad, principal secretary (energy department), said that the immediate issues to be addressed are the quality of power and the preparedness to go forward with new technology. She said that the greatest hurdle in implementing solar or wind projects was the lack of quality and innovation from suppliers.

She called on Indian companies to do more research in the field and thereby reduce the country’s dependency on foreign companies. She said that there was lot of scope for roof-top, off-grid and in-grid installations and the government is seriously looking at implementing the same.

As far as free power supply to farmers was concerned, she stressed on making the agricultural sector in the country more efficient through the use of modern pumps and solar installations to reduce consumption of power.
The national action plan for climate change constituted in 2008, had recommended that 15% of power generated in the country should come from renewable energy by the end of the decade.

While India has reached only 5% currently, which was the target for the year 2010, Karnataka has reached 10%, the highest renewable purchase obligation among all states in India. According to these estimates, MR Sreenivasa Murthy, chairman, Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission, said Karnataka is sure to not only reach, but surpass the target by the next decade.

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