Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has launched the Rajasthan Solar Energy Policy, and the Rajasthan Wind and Hybrid Energy Policy, giving a major boost to India’s efforts towards achieving the target of 175GW of renewable energy installed capacity by 2022 in which states have an extremely crucial role to play.
Rajasthan is India’s leading state in tapping wind energy for power generation. The wind energy potential in the state is estimated to be about 5400 MW. The State also shines on the solar map of India with 300-330 clear sunny days comparable to deserts of California, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona. Within the state, districts such as Barmer, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur are the key regions with best solar radiation. Rajasthan is endowed with two critical resources that are essential to solar power production: high level of solar radiation (6-7 kWh/ m2/ day) and large tracts of relatively flat, undeveloped land.
The policy, which was unveiled on December 19, spells out unique features and lays focus on large scale renewable integration, distributed generation, storage systems, re-powering of old low capacity wind turbines, hybridisation of wind and solar power parks, blending of solar power with conventional coal-based thermal power, and an easy open-access market for the generators.
Some of the key features of the policy include:
- The provision of annual banking of Renewable Energy (RE), which is set to make open-access more attractive to the investors.
- Electricity duty exemption and relaxation in transmission and wheeling charges to upscale the use of RE in generation and consumption mix of energy.
- Transitioning from conventional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) based vehicles to Electric Vehicles (EV) takes a complete circle of emission mitigation only when the EV charging takes place from the RE and not from conventional fossil-fuel based thermal power. The New Solar Policy grants special incentives to the first 500 RE-based EV charging infrastructure in the state.
- The policy also provides a slew of benefits to the RE equipment manufacturing units, which would be an added advantage for the big players.
- The policy talks about the ‘Green Energy Cities’ concept for 33 urban district headquarters for installing 300 MW solar rooftop systems, which will go a long way in distributed generation.
- The Renewable Energy Fund under the policy is being set up to strengthen the state power utilities for flexible RE integration keeping the grid stable.
According to Ajitabh Sharma, Chairman, Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Ltd, the Solar and Wind and Hybrid Energy Policies, in the first few days from the launch, have bolstered Rajasthan’s potential to attract investors in the renewable energy sector.