Renewable energy potential 28GW+ in Karnataka
Karnataka’s renewable energy potential is more than 28 GW, says Pune based World Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE). Karnataka is one of the pioneers where states in India are concerned to draft an RE Policy for the state for the period of 2009-14. The policy envisions a generation of 6600 MW of renewable electricity by 2014 and about Rs.23,890 crore of investments during the said period. Studies by the World Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE), Pune, suggest that Karnataka has much more RE potential than envisaged, which is more than 24 GW, out of which currently, only 3.45 GW has been tapped so far (as on Nov 2011). This includes 1929 MW of wind, 86 MW of biomass, 782 MW of bagasse cogen, 646 MW of small hydro, and 9 MW of solar. Wind offers the maximum potential with an untapped potential of 11 GW. Obviously the huge untapped potential also creates a huge investment opportunity.
To deliberate more on the RE policy and create a favourable environment for Karnataka’s development and energy security via the renewables route, the World Institute of Sustainable Energy, Pune, organized a one-day conference on ‘Renewable Energy for Karnataka’s development and energy security’ in Bengaluru on 24 January 2012. The conference was supported by the Government of Karnataka and the Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL).
In his welcome address, GM Pillai, founder Director General, WISE, said that UN had declared 2012 as the year for ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ and WISE was beginning the year with its first contribution towards meeting this objective with the state of Karnataka, one of the foremost states in India to accelerate development of renewables. He said that India has till date installed more than 22,000 MW grid-connected renewable electricity, and if policy and other pro-RE initiatives were carried out, the country could very well see 100,000 MW of grid-connected RE being installed by 2020. And Karnataka could play a major role in making this possible. He added that according to WISE, the state has a minimum of at least 38,000 MW potential of grid-connected RE. He opined that while wind and solar are the ‘big brothers’ in the RE sector, other renewable such as biomass, small hydro, co-gen, etc., would also need to step in to help balance the grid.
Pillai then submitted the ‘Karnataka RE Master Plan’ and a ‘Proposal on Operationalisation of the Green Energy Cess in Karnataka to Shamim Banu, Addl Chief Secretary, Energy Department, Government of Karnataka, and Chief Guest at the WISE conference, and NS Prasanna Kumar, Managing Director, KREDL. He hoped that the Master Plan would aid Karnataka in achieving its RE policy targets. Ms Banu, in her inaugural address, commended WISE on development of the RE Master Plan, which was in fact envisaged as part of the RE policy when it was initiated in 2009. She said that then nothing concrete had happened, but thanks to WISE, the Action Plan has been developed. She was sure that this plan would go much beyond the proposed five year time period of the policy and steer a plan of action to achieve what the policy sought out to do…development of RE in the state in three phases-short-term, medium and long term, and thus achieve the target of achieving 15% RE by 2020 as envisaged by the central government’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). She also thanked WISE for having prepared a ‘Solar Energy Roadmap’ for Karnataka, which would aid in taking action in solar development, scaling it up from the current 9 MW to 200 MW by 2016, which is the life of the solar policy (2011-2016). She urged the government, developers, private and public players to come together and form a partnership to increase the growth of renewables in the state. “Developers in the state have taken the initiative and come forward and set up RE projects in the state, due to which Karnataka has reaped these benefits and today has a significant quantum of RE…We cannot sit on our laurels…we need to rise to the occasion and with the help of KREDL, the developers, and WISE, we can help speed up the process and do much more to make Karnataka self-sufficient in renewables and develop it into an energy secure state,” she concluded.
NS Prasanna Kumar who was the Guest of Honour said that he wanted to “take Karnataka on a different road…a road that would lead to overall renewable energy development.” He added that the state had liberalized all the policies and procedures important for this growth in renewables to enable 5000 MW addition to the grid by 2014 (end of the RE policy term), and expressed the need for more cooperation and support from the developers to redefine the role of RE in the state. He further added that KREDL and WISE have been associated in the development of RE in Karnataka for quite sometime now.