Bengal to get 1,000 cr investment, generate 156 mw green power

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Kolkata,Nov 12 (UNI) West Bengal will get investments worth Rs 1,000 crore in the renewable energy sector for generating 156 mw of green power by 2009.

''Green power has around one lakh consumers in areas where the grid power either does not reach yet, or is difficult to provide,'' West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency director S P Gonchowdhury told UNI today, adding another 110 mw would be added to the present capacity with private players generating 100 mw and the government sector generating 10 mw. WBREDA works under the aegis of state power department.

At present, the state generates 46 mw of green energy, in addition to around 8,463 mw from conventional sources.

Although rice husk has been the main sources of non-conventional energy in the state, with Bardhaman, Birbhum and West Midnapore taking the lead, fresh investments would flow into small hydro projects and power from wind energy, Mr Gonchowdhury said.

Investment plans to produce power from biomass are also in the pipeline.

''Subhash Projects Ltd, Texmaco and Kolkata based Mittal group have committed a total of Rs 500 crore investment in small hydro-power projects in Darjeeling district. Suzlon Energy Ltd has committed Rs 300 crore to set up wind power generators on turnkey basis. Although West Bengal has very little potential in generating power from wind energy,'' Mr Gonchowdhury said adding that Suzlon would make wind generators worth around 40 mw.

Balaji Textiles, Corporate Ispat, Amrit Biomass, Kamarhati Jute Mills and Infinity Infotech Parks Ltd have also planned to invest Rs 200 crore in power generation from rice husk.

Given the quantum of green power generation so far, pushing it to the grid has not been a very viable option. Now, the West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission's (WBERC) is pondering on the idea of pushing renewable power into the grid.

WBREDA has also started working out modalities to push a major chunk of it to the grid with an eye on the proposed 100 mw.

In fact, the WBERC, following the guidelines of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, has made it mandatory for at least 3 per cent of the state's total power purchase to come from non-conventional sources by 2012.

''Pushing green power into the grid is important as this would provide an opportunity to trade in renewable energy,'' he added.

The WBERC has already set tariffs for wind, biomass and hydel.

At present, the tariff for wind power is Rs 4.00 per unit. For power from biomass it is Rs 3.35 and for hydel, Rs 3.60 per unit.

Solar power tariffs have not been set in the state so far, as is the case for the country, but the state could well be the first state to declare a solar power tariff.

Mr Gonchowdhury said the tariff would be declared by March 2007 and that the WBERC was working on the proposal given by the WBREDA.

He said solar power would be costlier than any other form of green power.


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