We won’t face summer power crunch: Karnataka Energy Minister

Says though demand double this year, state will fulfil power demand for exam season
Energy Minister KJ George at an interaction programme in Mangaluru on Monday
Energy Minister KJ George at an interaction programme in Mangaluru on Monday

MANGALURU: Energy Minister KJ George has said that his department has taken elaborate measures to save Karnataka from power outages in the upcoming exam season and summer months.

Speaking at an interaction programme with the public representatives at Mescom corporate office in Mangaluru on Monday, George said that Karnataka had not purchased electricity in the last 4-5 years as the demand was less due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, however, the demand has doubled from 8,900 MW to 16,000 MW due to poor monsoon, he said, adding that unfavourable weather conditions have also hit solar and wind power generation. Further, the state could not get quality coal due to rains in coal mining regions, the minister added.

To meet the power requirement in summer, George said tenders will soon be floated to import coal and will go for coal blending and coal washing to increase thermal power generation. He said Karnataka has already entered into an agreement with Uttar Pradesh and Punjab to purchase power under barter system. Karnataka will also get 100 MW of electricity from the central grid at Kudligi which was earlier allotted to Delhi, he elaborated.

Meanwhile, he said that a gas station at Yelahanka in Bengaluru will start functioning by this month-end which will generate 380 MW of power. At Sharavathi and Varahi, he said they have started work on generating power through Pumped Storage Hydropower. With this, the power generation in these places will go up by 3,500 MW.

Solar power plants

George said the Energy Department has identified over 800 power sub-stations in the state close to which government lands were available to set up solar power plants under the KUSUM-C Feeder Solarisation Scheme. The government would provide revenue lands free of cost to the Energy Department, which in turn hands them over to successful bidders on lease rental of Rs 25,000 per acre to set up the solar power plants. The energy produced would be fed to the local grid while the lease rental would be provided to local gram panchayats for development works. George said that the government was also keen on pushing the rooftop solar energy scheme and was awaiting Union Government’s support before proceeding further. As of now, the State Government is providing 40% subsidy for rooftop plants.

3,000 linemen to be recruited

Energy Minister KJ George on Monday said the Energy Department has decided to recruit 6,000 linemen across the state and of them, 3,000 will be appointed in the first phase. He said that to prevent new recruits from seeking transfer to their hometowns, the department will conduct interviews across the state on the same day. In places like Mangaluru, where there is a shortage of ground staff, the department will provide skill training to youth to help them get the job.

hydrogen power plant to come up in M’luru

Minister George said on a pilot basis, they are planning to generate green hydrogen power in Mangaluru and the State Government will come out with a policy on the same soon. He said earlier, they had planned to set up this plant in Pavagada in Tumakuru district, but Mangaluru appears to be an ideal place because of the sea and port. Stating that Gujarat and Rajasthan have already begun green hydropower generation, he said Karnataka will not be left behind. To begin with, he said the 300 kilo Watt plant will be set up in Mangaluru and added many investors have also shown interest in investing in this field in the state during the recent World Economic Forum in Davos.

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