India's first 2-mega watt solar power plant inaugurated in Amritsar

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Amritsar, Dec.14 (ANI): Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Dr. Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday inaugurated country's first commercial 2 mega watt Solar Power Plant in Punjab's Amritsar District. The plant is proposed to be further expanded to 5 MW.

Set up by a U.S. Company Azure Power in IPP Mode in the sleepy village Awan 45 KM away from here, the solar power plant was inaugurated by Dr. Farooq Abdullah in the presence of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and local MP Navjot Singh Sidhu.peaking on the occasion, Dr. Abdullah said that this was first important step taken by Punjab Government in fulfilling the Union Government target of producing 20,000 MW solar power by the year 2020 under its solar mission.

Speaking about the seriousness of rising pollution and worldwide outcry on cutting emissions, as being presently discussed in Copenhagen Summit, Dr. Abdullah said that this plant shows the seriousness of the Government to produce clean and emission free power, to save the planet from the ill effects of global warming.

Drawing lessons from ancient Indian history when five natural elements including sun, wind, fire, earth and water were known as life elements of the planet earth, Dr. Abdullah said that his Ministry has now launched a campaign to draw clean energy from all these five elements in a unique way.

Speaking about future plans in the new energy sector, Dr. Abdullah said that the task of the Independent Power Producers was being facilitated by single window service in the Ministry.

Dr. Abdullah said that his Ministry was targeting too produce 1300 MW power from new energy sector within next three years. He also assured positive response to the demand of Deputy Chief Minister to enhance subsidy of Solar Tube wells for Punjab.

Welcoming the Union Minister, Punjab's Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal assured him that this experiment of Awan would be soon replicated in total border belt of Punjab with three Solar Power Plants of 10 MW each in every border district. Badal informed that Punjab has already achieved 282 MW in Renewable Power Sector and was aiming to increase it to 700 MW by the year 2011. He said that State had an ambitious programme to produce 300 MW power from 20 million tonnes rice husk, through 28 biomass plants being set up in Punjab.

Demanding restoration of enhanced subsidy on solar tubewells to the previous rate of Rs. 1.80 lac instead of present rate of Rs. 50,000, Badal said that Punjab farmers despite 50 percent deficient rains in Punjab have produced record 150 lac tonnes paddy for the national pool, spending over additional Rs. 3,000 crores on diesel.

Badal said that as Punjab farmers were performing the national duty and the New Energy Ministry should immediately sanction enhanced subsidy of Rs.1.80 lac for new 10,000 tubewell connections in Punjab.

Congratulating Dr. Abdullah and Mr. Badal, local MP, Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu said that a vision of Deputy Chief Minister to make Punjab power surplus by generating 5000 MW power in next two and half year was getting fructified.

Earlier, Vishavjit Khanna, Secretary, Science Technology and Enviroment informed that PEDA was performing pioneering role in attracting entrepreneurs in clean power sector. He said that PEDA has come out with zero cost models to provide efficient street lights in all urban areas of Punjab. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)

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