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HindustanTimes Sun,19 Oct 2014

2,000-MW solar power plant to be set up in Punjab

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, August 20, 2014
First Published: 09:50 IST(20/8/2014) | Last Updated: 09:54 IST(20/8/2014)

Union minister of state for power, coal and new and renewable energy Piyush Goyal on Tuesday announced to set up 2,000 MW solar power plant in Punjab. Goyal led a high-powered delegation to meet chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Badal informed Goyal that against a total demand of nearly 8,600 MW, the installed capacity was 6,200 MW resulting in a shortfall of 2,500 MW.

He said three coal-based power projects at Rajpura, Talwandi Sabo and Goindwal Sahib would take the state’s total generation capacity to 13,600 MW.

The CM informed Goyal that around Rs. 9,200 crore was spent on strengthening the transmission and distribution system which reduced the transmission and distribution losses in Punjab to lowest in the country.

Badal urged Goyal to direct Central Coal Field Limited (CCL) to supply the committed quantity of 3.5 coal rakes per day during the paddy season. He also impressed upon the minister of power to enhance the coal linkage for Rajpura and Talwandi Sabo power plants as their capacity had already been increased.

The chief minister sought the coverage of towns having a population of more than 15,000 under R-APDRP (Part B) instead of towns with a population of 30,000 under the scheme.

Badal demanded that subsidy on the solar tubewells be restored to 70% which had been recently slashed to 30%. He asked the Centre to approve the proposal for 10,000 tubewells out of its recently announced programme to install one lakh solar tubewells in the country.

He also took up the issue for installing 100 MW solar panels on rooftops for which the state government would soon submit a detailed proposal.

Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, in charge of the power department, assured Goyal that he would personally supervise the process to identify the requisite land for the installation of 2,000 MW solar plant in the state.

Sukhbir impressed upon Goyal to develop solar parks covering at least 20 villages in each block across the state for providing assured irrigation facility to the farmers grappling with acute problem of low groundwater.

On the issue of coal linkage, Sukhbir requested the ministry of coal to formulate a uniform policy to allocate 100% coal from domestic sources to landlocked states and use imported coal in coastal states to bring down the power tariffs in landlocked areas.

Non-conventional energy minister Bikram Singh Majithia demanded the funding of 10,000 solar pumps in the agriculture sector through soft loans by Asian Development Bank for ` 340 crore (57%) of the total cost of Rs  600 crore, of which the balance ` 180 crore would be met with the existing ministry of new and renewable energy subsidy of 30% and ` 80 crore as farmer share.

Goyal assured the Punjab government that out of 2,000 MW solar power generated in the state, 1,000 MW would be bought by the National Thermal Power Corporation.

He also asked both the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) and Power Finance Corporation (PFC) to jointly fund the project of installing smart meters in the state at a cost of Rs. 400 crore and the remaining RS 100 crore would be borne by the state government.

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