E-vehicle, solar push expected in Delhi budget
Delhi’s first ‘Green Budget’ will seek to control air pollution in the national capital.delhi Updated: Mar 21, 2018 07:28 IST
Delhi’s budget, to be presented on Thursday, is likely to have a strong focus on renewable energy and the environment, with specific proposals such as waiving road tax on electric vehicles and creating solar farms, two government officials familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
The two schemes will be part of the city’s first ‘Green Budget’ that will seek to control air pollution in the national capital. Under the electric vehicles scheme, the government plans to waive road tax. At present, vehicle owners have to pay anywhere between 2-12.5% of the cost of the vehicle as road tax.
The government is hoping that the owners of some of the 6.7 million scooters and motorcycles in the city, 2 million of which are compliant with the old BS-II emission norms (which means they are not as emission free as new vehicles) will move to electric vehicles on the strength of this incentive, one of the officials, who is directly involved in the framing of the plan, said.
Transport minister Kailash Gahlot added that the government plans to include this incentive as part of its upcoming policy for electric vehicles. The EV policy will have guidelines for agencies and owners about charging points, safety norms and procurement of electric vehicles.
“Incentives for those who buy electric vehicles will be part of Delhi’s EV policy. EVs are the way forward at a time when statistics show that every second person in Delhi owns a vehicle,” the minister added.
EPCA member Sunita Narain welcomed the move, but said that the government will have to take the schemes aggressively.
“As such variants of EV in the market are very few. So, the government will have to think of ways to bridge the gap and ensure that the road tax waiver scheme is actually pushed aggressively among Delhiites. It is a great incentive otherwise,” she said.
The budget is also likely to introduce the concept of solar farming where interested farmers can get solar panels installed on their land at no cost by empanelled companies and earn money by selling a part of the electricity generated.
The government plans to launch the project first on a pilot basis with a solar plant installation of 15 MW. It is in talks with farmers in Delhi’s periphery , especially Najafgarh, for setting up the solar panels.
“The farmers will only have to give their land, without changing ownership, to solar energy developers who would build and operate the solar plant. A part of the money earned by selling electricity will be kept by the developer and the rest would be given to the farmer,” the second official said.
The farmers will be able to continue growing crops on the land as the panels will be installed at a height of three metres from the ground. Delhi’s current solar capacity is 77.34 MW, while the target was 186 MW in 2017 and is 1,000 MW by 2020.
This proposal has also been sent to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) which is soon going to issue a virtual net metering policy. Once the policy is out, the scheme will roll out, with commercial power connection holders being able to buy power from the solar farms.
“Those who have electricity connections in the commercial category will benefit most from this as at present their power tariff is at least Rs 9 per unit. Power from solar farms will cost them around Rs 4.5 per unit instead,” a third official said on condition of anonymity.