NEW DELHI: Army has decided to electrify the areas of its highest battlefield Siachen with clean solar energy and reduce carbon footprint in pursuit of clean energy vision of the Indian government.
Sources informed, “Indian Army has signed a Power Purchase Agreement for two solar plants of 1MW each at Siachen and a smaller third plant.” The project is being steered by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and Army’s Operational Logistics Directorate, told the sources.
The idea was seeded when the President of India Ram Nath Kovind Visited Siachen Infantry Brigade on May 10 2018. “The Supreme Commander directed to explore the feasibility of utilising solar energy to meet the power requirements of our forward posts.” informed a source.
“Beyond Khardungla Pass, Ladakh there are major limitations to stretch electricity grid and also the hydro power has limited running time due to freezing temperatures. The advantage of choosing solar power is due to the fact that these areas are in an open valley and have major exposure of sunlight.” told another officer.
The Supreme Commander himself was quite keen about the project and once the go ahead was given by the Military Operations Directorate a joint recce was carried out by the teams of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and Indian Army. Unique financial models were firmed up and a second leg for Kumar Post was planned. The other two sites are Siachen Base Camp and Partapur.
Two financial models (pay and Use Model and Subsidy Model) were proposed by MNRE for the projects at Base Camp and Partapur. “Due to its inherent advantages, the ‘Pay and Use’ model was preferred to execute the projects at both locations.” told another officer.
The plans for Kumar Post are quite different as the Ministry of Renewable Energy has chosen the place as technology demonstrator with an additional plan ahead. “A 15 KW project at Kumar Post is being steered as an innovative project to be funded completely by MNRE and handed over to the army for further operations and maintenance.” said the second officer.
Initially the project will look after the lighting requirements of soldiers at Kumar Post and in future the same source will also be used to heat up the habitat of the soldiers. The temperatures in Siachen always remain sub-zero, often plummeting minus 40 degrees.