New Delhi. Climate Parliament MPs from a wide spectrum of political parties submitted today an Expert Report, commissioned by the Climate Parliament, ‘RE-Energising India: Policy, Regulatory and Financial Initiatives to Augment Renewable Energy Deployment in India’ to the Prime Minister of India.
In their signed memorandum given to the Prime Minister along with the Report, the parliamentarians have asked the government to establish a National Clean Energy Access Mission; to mainstream renewable energy in government schemes; enforce NAPCC recommendations at state level through amendments in National Electricity Policy; incentivise states for to increase RPO trajectory and compliance; enact the Renewable Energy Act to be administered by MNRE; and mobilise of low cost funds for the renewable energy sector.
The Memorandum is signed by MPs Mr. J D. Seelam and Ms. Jhansi Lakshmi Botcha (INC), Mr. Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal (BJP) Dr. K. P. Ramalingam (DMK), Ms. Vandana Chavan (NCP), Dr. Anup Kumar Saha (CPM), Mr. Shashi Bhusan Behera (BJD), Mr Jayant Chaudhary (RLD) and Mr. Ali Anwar Ansari (JDU).
The Climate Parliament Group of MPs have been putting pressure on the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister to implement a series of policy, financial and regulatory measures for the development of renewable energy in the country, so that the targets set in the National Action Plan of Climate Change (NAPCC) and in the Twelfth Five Year Plan Document, are met fully. In their previous meetings with the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and the Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram in 2012-13, the Climate Parliament MPs demanded the government reinstate Viability Gap Funding so as to encourage private sector investment in transmission infrastructure for renewable energy, as well as providing Additional Central Assistance to such states that install progressively higher infrastructure for feeding renewable energy based electricity to the grids, establishing a Partial Risk Guarantee Fund for renewable energy projects, and implementation of the Estimates Committee’s 13th Report with respect to increasing the allocations of Renewable Energy Ministry to 1% of the total national budget allocation.
The Expert Report, prepared by Idam Infrastructure Advisory Private Limited, comprehensively and critically analyses the existing policies, schemes and rationale for the renewable energy sector in the country. The Report has a chronological plan – short, medium and long term – to implement its recommendations. The petroleum import bill from April to November 2012 was over Rs 9 trillion, and the Indian trade deficit during the same period was over Rs 10.37 trillion. In 2013-14, the subsidy on kerosene and domestic LPG was about Rs. 300 billion. Further, at the growth rate of 5% in domestic production, all of India’s current extractable coal resources will be exhausted in about 45 years.
Indian renewables are expanding rapidly but need more government supportAccording to the Expert Report, India today has 75 million households without access to electricity. Per capita consumption in rural households was only 8 units per month as compared 24 units in urban households. In 2001-02, the Government of India pledged to provide ‘electricity for all by 2012’, a target that was later deferred to 2017. In order to provide access to energy to the remotest areas, energy needs to be either economically deliverable or locally tapped. Thus, the government should urgently ‘establish a National Energy Access Mission (NEAM) aimed at providing modern and clean energy to all in sufficient quantity at affordable prices…The task of providing access to electricity should be taken up in the mission mode.’ The Government should set a target of 10 years for the mission to achieve universal energy access. For this purpose, the Report also proposes to set up a National Energy Access Fund, under the administrative control of MNRE.
The Expert Report also recommends the government to ‘establish single national long term target for renewable energy, which would help manufacturers and technology suppliers to establish facilities’. The Report notes that there is no unanimity among various sections of the government regarding the target for renewable energy penetration. Targets identified by different departments vary by a wide margin: The Government has set a target of adding 30,000 MW of RE capacity during the 12th Five Year Plan. MNRE’s ‘Strategic Plan for New and Renewable Energy Sector for the period 2011-17’ have targeted 21,700 MW during 2011-2017. The NAPCC targets at 15% of grid electricity from RE by 2020 which may correspond to adding up to 90,000 MW by 2020.
‘The Renewable Energy Act should be enacted to make provisions for the off-grid applications such as solar heating and cooling, renewable energy in transport, heating and cooling, promotion of bio-energy and bio-fuels, off-grid generation and rural electrification, grid connectivity and transmission planning’ suggests the Report. A National Renewable Energy Policy should also be prepared by the MNRE.