VIJAYAWADA: The State energy department has expedited the process for establishing the proposed 10,000 megawatt (MW) solar power plants.The officials said that Andhra Pradesh Green Energy Corporation Ltd (APGECL), which is being seen as a permanent solution to supply free power to farmers, was finalising modalities for going ahead with the project execution.
“The incorporation of the State-owned company has been done on March 3. The detailed project report (DPR) has also been prepared, under which it has been proposed to establish six solar parks in and around Rayalaseema region over a period of five years. Once we get the State’s go-ahead, APGECL would go ahead with tendering,” a senior official explained.
When asked about the cost-to-benefit analysis of establishing 10,000 MW solar power plants at a time when the State is in a severe financial crunch, the official replied, “Agriculture subsidy that the government bears is Rs 8,354 crore. The other domestic and aqua subsidies amount to Rs 2,957 crore. In total, subsidies amount to Rs 11,311 crore annually. If we can invest this money for harnessing a sustainable and qualitative power for five years, we will be able to do away with subsidy after a few years. This will help in reviving the debt-ridden power sector, besides benefiting sectors like agriculture.” The official also pointed out that the per-unit cost of solar power is much cheaper than other conventional energies.
According to available information, the nine-hour free power to farmers initiative requires about 33 to 35 million units a day. This has been burdening the Discoms, which are forced to purchase more power to meet the demand in peak hours.
“Although we are a power surplus State, in peak hours, we continue to purchase electricity in order to meet the demand. With the free nine-hour power also being given in daytime, it is adding to our demand. So, a sustainable power, solar, is the only solution. We have identified a total land of 50,000 acres for two parks each in Anantapur district (for 2,500 MW) and Kadapa district (for 2,800 MW) and one park each in Kurnool (for 3,300 MW) and Prakasam (for 1,400 MW) districts,” the official noted.
According to the available estimates, these six parks, once developed over five years, would generate about 40 to 42 million units (MU) a day.
“So, the power, left after meeting the agricultural demand of 33 to 35 MU, could either be integrated with our grid and used for other purposes or we could enhance the number of hours from nine hours to more like in Telangana,” a top-ranking official from APTRANSCO observed.Telangana has been giving 24 hours power free of cost to farmers.