India to Develop Renewable Energy in Rural Villages

Government would provide 90 percent subsidy while local village partner would contribute remain 10 percent to proposed renewable energy projects.

Published: 05-Jun-2005

PUNE: Of the 254 remote villages in the state which need electrification, the union Ministry of Non Conventional Energy (MNES) has accorded in principle approval to the 24 villages which submitted proposals.

This rural electrification programme is being undertaken by the village energy security programme, run by the MnES and the forest department. The Rs 1.74 lakh crore rural electrification programme is expected to take four years to cover the country’s 1.25 lakh villages, of which 25,000 are considered remote villages. The energy security programme is targeted at these remote villages.

"We are looking at private participation for these remote villages, maybe taking the help of local NGOs or local educated people to create network. We do not have a network of our own," Vilas Muttemwar, minister of state for non-conventional and renewable energy, government of India, said.

Mr Muttemwar added that schemes in remote villages which are put up by locals would receive subsidy to the extent of 90 per cent. The balance 10 per cent would be the contribution of the local partner.

In an effort to popularise the non-conventional and renewable energy sources, the ministry is setting up Parks. Mr Muttemwar spoke to reporters after visiting the Rs 2.40 crore Peshwe Renewable Energy Park in Pune, where his ministry has contributed Rs 95 lakh.

"We are in the process of forming a joint venture with the Agriculture College in Nagpur for their 30 acre land on which we will set up the Indira Gandhi International Renewable Energy Park. We, the MnES will create the infrastructure while the recurring costs will be borne by the College," he said.

Power sector sources indicated that this is an unnecessary diversion of funds. They said it would be better if the MnES set up distributed power in villages using locally available material.

Meanwhile, the MnES is setting up 20-member District Advisory Committees across the country, to promote the concept of renewable energy. Mr Muttemwar said of the 630 districts in the country, 450 have already set up such DACs. The MnES gives a Rs 1.5 lakh grant to each DAC.

As chairman of the hydrogen energy board, Mr Muttemwar said they have prepared a road map for this sector.

"Next month, we will submit a proposal, outlining the road map for the next 20 years. Automotive industry leaders are part of this committee," he said.

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