Generation of power through renewable energy sources on decline during past 3 yrs

J&K fails to meet expectations of Union Govt
Dismal scenario despite release of over Rs 150 cr by MNRE

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, July 3: Union Government’s repeated directions on tapping renewable energy on a large scale are not being taken seriously by the concerned authorities in Jammu and Kashmir despite the fact that State has second highest potential in the country. This is evident from the official figures, which reveal that generation of power through such sources is on decline during the past three years despite release of over Rs 150 crore.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that in order to ensure energy security, protect the climate and de-carbonize the electricity generation, the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has decided to establish 175 Giga Watt (GW) of renewable energy capacity by 2022, comprising 100 GW solar, 60 GW wind and 15 GW of other forms of renewable generation.
The Ministry has allocated the targets to those States which have huge solar energy potential and for Jammu and Kashmir target of tapping 1150 Mega Watts (1.15 Giga Watt) has been fixed by the Union Government.
“The Union Government is expecting Jammu and Kashmir to play crucial role in achieving this feat as study conducted by the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) reveals that Jammu and Kashmir has solar power potential of 111.05 Giga Watt, which is the second highest in the country after Rajasthan where the potential is 142.32 GW”, sources said.
Though the target fixed for J&K is only a bit of the total available potential yet J&K has failed to act seriously on the directions of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, sources said while pointing towards the figures vis-à-vis generation of power from various renewable energy sources during the past three years.
In 2016-17, J&K generated only 0.77 Million Units of power through solar energy and 325.36 Million Units through small hydro projects, which also fall in the domain of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. However, not even single unit was generated by tapping wind and other renewable energy sources. In this way, only 326.12 Million Units of power was generated.
In 2017-18, the generation of power through renewable energy sources witnessed decline to 324.37 Million Units when only small hydro potential was tapped and no headway was made in respect of other sources like wind and solar.
Again in 2018-19, the generation of power through renewable energy sources declined to 312.20 Million Units and no attention was paid towards tapping of wind and solar energy potential. All these figures clearly reveal that generation of power through renewable energy sources witnessed decline during the past three years.
“The slackness in tapping the potential is notwithstanding the fact that an amount of over Rs 150 crore was released to J&K as Central Financial Assistance during the past three years”, sources said. An amount of Rs 49.67 crore was released in 2016-17, Rs 16.12 crore in 2017-18 and Rs 85.84 crore in 2018-19.
It is pertinent to mention here that Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency (JAKEDA) is the State nodal agency for the promotion and development of renewable energy programmes and projects. The mandate of the agency covers the entire gamut of renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and geothermal. Moreover, there are two different agencies in Leh and Kargil districts with the similar mandate.
The continuous decline in generation of power through renewable energy sources is a big question mark on the performance of these agencies, whose officers generally don’t respond to the queries regarding the steps being initiated for implementing the directions of the Union Ministry.
“Even J&K Renewable Energy Corporation, the establishment of which was cleared by the State Cabinet in early 2018, has yet not started functioning although it has the mandate to catalyze the development of renewable energy resources”, sources said, adding “with such a casual approach in tapping renewable energy potential how J&K would meet the target fixed by the Union Government remains a million dollar question”.