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Odisha seeks funds from NCEF for small hydro, solar projects

According to reports, the state government has made a plea to the Union ministry of power to allocate sufficient funds from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) to help execute renewable energy projects in the state.

“The NCEF corpus is estimated to have reached about Rs 11,000 crore by the end of 2014-15. The proceeds of the fund are from a cess levied at the rate of Rs 100 a tonne from coal mined in states like Odisha. So, we have requested the Union power ministry to allot adequate funds from NCEF to implement small hydro and solar power projects. We will soon submit a list of such projects with fund requirement to the Government of India to avail funds from NCEF,” a senior state official said.

Though coal rich states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Odisha have been contributing to enrichment of NCEF funds, the beneficiaries have generally been the western states where NCEF corpus has been used to facilitate generation of solar energy in a big way.

“Our greatest worry is that coal rich states are not being given any assistance from the NCEF fund though such states are the major contributors,” the official said.

Odisha has various renewable energy projects which are in urgent need of funds. The state has been encouraging private developers to set up renewable energy plants in solar, biomass, small hydro and co-generation sectors. Presently, 18 Mw solar power, 20 Mw biomass and 5 Mw small hydro-electric power projects are in operation in the state. The state has set up the Green Energy Development Corporation (GEDCOL) for taking up renewable power projects. GEDCOL participated in the tendering process invited by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) for implementation of 20 Mw solar power plant near Manmunda in Boudh district.

That apart, land identification is underway for establishment of ultra-mega solar plant in the state. The state government has appointed World Bank as the consultant for preparation of combined renewable policy.

Since renewable energy projects are capital intensive and have a longer gestation period, they need incentives in the form of tariff subsidy or soft financing. The state government has urged the Government of India to come up with subsidised financing schemes for renewable energy. The subsidy should also be made available for transmission systems required for grid connectivity of renewable power plants.

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