Power demand on the rise, but departments hamstrung by lack of funds in Karnataka

As on June 14, total power generation in the state is 8086MW, of which 2491MW is from non-conventional power sources.
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only.

BENGALURU: With demand for power on the rise, more so with the Gruha Jyothi scheme and stress on decentralised renewable energy, strengthening infrastructure is a challenge.

More than getting finances to undertake projects, meeting the Central government target of renewable energy generation has become a challenge, said sources in the energy department.

According to an official who did not want to be named, Central and state governments are stressing on enhancing renewable energy sources, especially solar, and continuous supply and storage is the challenge. The other challenge is round-the-clock supply of power.

“To improve infrastructure and grid connectivity, a plan was chalked out and discussions held with Asian Development Bank for a loan of Rs 10,000 crore. But this was not accepted by the government. Our counterparts in the finance department said the government needs money for guarantee schemes. With no assurance from the government on loan recovery, the plan was shelved,” the official said.

However, to implement various central and state government schemes on solar power supply to farmers and residents, public-private partnerships are being looked at by decentralising generation and supply. Multiple PPPs will be signed, the official added.

As on June 14, total power generation in the state is 8086MW, of which 2491MW is from non-conventional power sources.

While Karnataka was unable to take the opportunity to install solar enabled irrigation pump sets for farmers and set up feeders, Maharashtra did it in March, before MCC was imposed.

“With the help of ADB’s financial assistance, generation of 50MW power and production of Made In India solar panels has started,” a Maharashtra energy department official said. “Maharashtra has now taken the lead in renewable energy generation, while Karnataka was the first to have a policy and solar power generation plant in Pavagada. Since 2017, power capacity in Karnataka has not enhanced. No power purchase agreements were signed. The drought, power demand has shot up, making us realise the shortfalls in infrastructure. Strengthening or correcting it has become worrisome. Funding is a concern due to which we are unable to meet central government targets,” the official added.

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