Ensuring clean energy with people’s participation

Madhya Pradesh will leave no stone unturned to bring the life-giving power of Suryadev to the doorstep of every citizen of India and make India an energy-conscious and truly Atmanirbhar nation by 2030
The MP government has pioneered the world’s largest energy literacy programme, Urja Saksharta Abhiyan (USHA), to build an energy-conscious society. Under USHA, we will reach out to students, homemakers, businesspeople, farmers, and others sections of society (HTPhoto)
The MP government has pioneered the world’s largest energy literacy programme, Urja Saksharta Abhiyan (USHA), to build an energy-conscious society. Under USHA, we will reach out to students, homemakers, businesspeople, farmers, and others sections of society (HTPhoto)
Updated on Nov 25, 2021 02:05 PM IST
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ByShivraj Singh Chouhan

Today, the world is rapidly embracing clean energy. An increasing number of governments are renegotiating their dependence on fossil fuels to meet their energy needs through clean energy.

Madhya Pradesh (MP) is one of the first states to pioneer solar energy production in India. Our commitment towards ushering in a clean future has been driven by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mantra of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas”. This mantra drives the idea of Jan Bhagidari, people’s participation, for change, which will be crucial in ushering in a green future, powered by solar energy.

India is taking great strides towards achieving its ambitious target of about 500 Gigawatt (GW) of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030. Out of this, the contribution of solar energy is expected to be around 280 GW, or 60%.

In order to reach this target, we must make this a people’s movement at all levels. We cannot forget that our efforts to reach the goal of a billion vaccinations were also driven by the spirit of Jan Bhagidaari. I believe that energy consciousness will come only when energy-saving becomes a part of our daily existence. Hence, I have pioneered the world’s largest energy literacy programme, Urja Saksharta Abhiyan (USHA), to build an energy-conscious society. Under USHA, we will reach out to students, homemakers, businesspeople, farmers, and others sections of society.

As a next step in our aim to engage the public, we have reached out to our farmer brothers and sisters to take this movement to the grassroots. Hence, under the PM-KUSUM Yojana, we are helping our farmers set-up solar power generation units on their lands at subsidised rates. This will also provide them an additional source of income.

We have also been taking technology-focused measures to put MP on the map as the leading producer of solar power. Our efforts have increased the contribution of clean energy to 25% of MP’s current installed power capacity of 21,700 MW. This is a ten-fold increase from 2012. Our aim is to become number one in the production of solar energy and build a strong clean energy future, under our Atmanirbhar Madhya Pradesh Roadmap 2023.

On Thursday, we have successfully executed the Rewa Solar Power Project. This project has become a model for many other states. It is one of the world’s largest single-site solar projects, generating 750 MW of electricity per day at its full capacity. We have achieved a minimum tariff of 2.97/unit, which is considerably less than the tariff received from other concurrent projects. This has also proved that alternative energy can be produced cheaply if executed with a strong political will, efficient implementation, and the spirit of Jan Bhagidari.

Our success in tapping solar energy, in a state that receives over 300 days of sunshine, has empowered our will to apply our past learning to future projects. Consequently, we are aggressively setting up solar energy parks in other districts such as Neemuch, Shajapur, Agar, Morena, Chhatarpur and Sagar as well, with a combined capacity of 4,500 MW, at a construction cost of 18,000 crore. However, in its first phase, we have initiated the construction of the 1,500 MW Agar-Shajapur-Neemuch Solar Power Project, at a cost of 5,250 crore. We will continue our winning streak by getting a low power tariff of 2.14/unit in this project, too.

We will supply this low-priced electricity generated through the National Grid Connectivity to the Indian Railways in eight states, besides the Delhi Metro. These solar parks will be operational at full capacity by March 2023 and boost our dream of building an Atmanirbhar MP.

These solar parks will also help state power companies save about 7,600 crore during the project period. It will provide indirect employment to about 7,500 people during project construction, and direct employment to 1,800 locals after operationalisation. Besides economic and power benefits, this project will prevent CO2 emissions of up to three million tonnes annually. This is equivalent to planting 52 million adult trees.

We are employing international best practices in solar power production from countries such as Germany, South Korea and Norway to increase Madhya Pradesh’s footprint in the renewable energy sector. In this direction, we have initiated construction of the world’s largest floating solar park in Omkareshwar on the Narmada River. It is expected to produce 600 MW of renewable energy, at a construction cost of about 3,000 crore.

Madhya Pradesh will continue to explore new ways of tapping into this eternal source of energy. We will leave no stone unturned to bring the life-giving power of Suryadev to the doorstep of every citizen of India and make India an energy-conscious and truly Atmanirbhar nation by 2030.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan is the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh

The views expressed are personal

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Saturday, November 27, 2021