Clear decks for Tamil Nadu projects: CM
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has sought the intervention of the Prime Minister with the Finance Ministry to ensure that necessary approvals are accorded for a grant of Rs 1,500 crore for two renewable energy projects in Tamil Nadu from the National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF).
In a letter dated September 15, released to the media on Monday, she drew his attention to the Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) headed by the Finance Secretary declining to approve the grants despite the projects getting nods from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) as well as the Planning Commission.
Jayalalithaa said Tamil Nadu is a pioneer in harnessing renewable energy and wind power alone has an installed capacity of 7145 MW. The State is set to increase the capacity by a further 5000 MW in the next five years.
The lack of adequate power evacuation projects, the Chief Minister said, was preventing the State from reaping the full benefits of wind energy generation.This being the case, the State has proposed to take up wind power evacuation projects to the tune of `5,998 crore in two phases through the Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation.
Quoting an Office Memorandum of the Finance Ministry, she said the scheme guidelines of the NCEF make projects for creation of power evacuation infrastructure eligible for assistance under the fund.
On this basis, the TNTC, in close coordination with MNRE, submitted three project proposals pegged at Rs 5,998 crore.
“I understand that the MNRE, after consulting the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd and Central Electricity Authority, validated two of the three proposals at a total cost of Rs 3,758 crore and recommended approval of a grant of Rs 1,500 crore for these projects from the NCEF,” she pointed out.
The third proposal for setting up 400 KV substations with associated transmission lines at Karaikudi and other places in the State was being executed with Tamilnadu’s own resources.
However, the IMG, in its meeting on May 18, has taken a stand that transmission schemes for renewable energy cannot be supported from the NCEF.
“It is distressing to find that the IMG is going against the Government of India’s guidelines to deny Tamil Nadu, which is a flagship State in harnessing clean renewable energy, the much needed support for a project which has for long been a felt need,” she said and added that she failed to see any justification for the IMG’s stand. Also, the MNRE has written again on July 19 to the Finance Ministry to reconsider its stand.
The Chief Minister said being a State endowed with very limited conventional sources of energy, but with a high potential for renewables and an enviable track record of effectively harnessing such energy, Tamilnadu fully deserves the support of the Central Government to create the intra State ‘Green Energy Corridor (GEC)’.
“The Planning Commission, in a meeting on GECs held in August, also decided to support the “favourable reconsideration” of Tamilnadu’s request for financing from NCEF,” she said and sought the immediate intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in according the grant of Rs 1500 crore for the projects.