Merely 15 MW potential tapped in nearly one decade
JAMMU, May 12: In a significant development, a team of scientists of Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is visiting Ladakh from May 23 to closely analyze all the aspects relating to establishment of much-delayed two mega solar power projects, which will help in tapping 7500 Mega Watts potential in Leh and Kargil districts.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that keeping in view huge solar energy potential in Ladakh region Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy several years back had decided to establish 7500 Mega Watt capacity solar power projects in Leh and Kargil districts.
Accordingly, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Science and Technology Ministry of Jammu and Kashmir on March 3, 2014 for establishment of 2500 Mega Watt solar power project in Kargil and 5000 Mega Watt in Leh.
Thereafter, the State Cabinet accorded formal sanction for setting up of two ultra mega solar power projects and even a high-level coordination committee was constituted to give practical shape to the projects.
Though land was identified at different places in both the districts for establishment of these projects yet evacuation of power from the Ladakh region to other parts of the State and country remained a major issue for the Union Ministry and due to this no progress could be made on setting up of two mega solar power projects, sources said.
“As 220 KV Srinagar-Leh transmission line is going to be completed by the end of current year and a new line between Leh-Manali under Green Energy Corridor has been planned, the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has decided to closely analyze all the aspects relating to establishment of these projects”, they further said.
In this regard, a team of scientists of the Ministry headed by Nigam Dilip, who looks after Solar Mission, Solar Renewable Purchase Obligation and Renewable Energy aspects in the Ministry, is visiting Ladakh from May 23. During about one week-long visit, the scientists will have overall assessment vis-à-vis grid position, line position and land availability in both the districts besides holding detailed deliberations with Leh and Kargil Renewable Energy Development Agencies, sources informed.
“No doubt 220 KV Srinagar-Leh transmission line will have limited capacity to evacuate solar power from Ladakh region to other parts of the State and country but by the time these mega projects are established and start generating electricity up to their full capacity the Government of India would make much headway on alternate line under Green Energy Corridor”, they further said.
When contacted, Tsewang Thinless, Project Director Leh Renewable Energy Development Agency confirmed that a team of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is visiting Leh and Kargil from May 23 to closely analyze all aspects relating to setting up of two mega solar power projects.
“This is a positive development and hopefully on the recommendations of the team of scientists the Government of India will set into motion exercise for setting up of projects”, he said.
As per the study conducted by the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Jammu and Kashmir has solar power potential of 111.05 GWp (Gigawatt-peak), which is the second highest in the country after Rajasthan where the potential is 142.32 GWp.
Ladakh region is one of the most favourable areas in the country for harnessing solar power as annual average solar energy at Leh is 5530 Whr/m2/day while the estimated annual average for Kargil and Nubra is 5390 Whr/m2/day and 5300 Whr/m2 respectively. The cold deserts of Leh and Kargil have amongst the best solar radiations in the country and are therefore ideally suitable for generation of solar power.
However, only 15 Mega Watts solar energy potential has been tapped in Leh district so far, sources said, adding “the situation in Kargil vis-à-vis making use of solar energy is also not better than Leh district”.
“Merely 15 Mega Watts potential has been tapped in Leh district through off-grid method during the past one decade thereby establishing that neither State Government nor Union Government has so far paid any serious attention towards tapping immense potential in Ladakh region”, sources regretted.