As a sudden shortage of fossil fuel led to closure of many thermal power stations, the Uttar Pradesh government is looking for renewable energy options including generating electricity from huge water reservoirs and canals and harnessing solar power.
Jal Shakti Minister Swatanra Dev Singh said that a number of private companies have shown interest in working with the department and exploiting the potential of water bodies. A few companies from Israel and Gujarat have contacted our department to utilise water bodies to generate electricity.
“There are new technologies which are even generating electricity from the sea waves. We have a canal system where water is available round the year. In some places the flow of water is good enough to generate electricity. We should give this concept a try,” the minister said.
Uttar Pradesh, home to 230 million has the biggest rivers like Ganga and Yamuna flowing across the state. Besides, it has over 75,000 km-long flowing canals, 33,800 government tubewells, 92 huge water reservoirs and 281 lift-irrigationcanals.
Under the preliminary proposals, canal top solar plants would be installed over canals, while the selected reservoirs would be equipped with floating solar plants for tapping solar energy. The department has also estimated that for generating 13,500 mw of solar energy, 27,000 hectares of canal area and 150 hectares of the reservoir span would be required.
In August 2019, the state cabinet had cleared the proposal of renewable energy majors ReNew Power and Shapoorji Pallonji to collectively invest Rs 750 crore in a 150 mw floating solar power project in UP. It is not only touted as the first such project in the state, but also the largest floating solar project anywhere in India.
The suggestion has come at the background of Uttar Pradesh government’s commitment to bolster the renewable energy sector. The government has cleared solar energy projects of 1,535 megawatt (mw) worth Rs 7,500 crore. Majority of these projects are likely to be commissioned this year.
The government dossiers claim that Uttar Pradesh has capacity to produce 28GW of renewable energy. The State Government has set an ambitious objective of annual addition of 2,000 MW production capacity of solar energy. It further says that Bundelkhand and Mirzapur-Sonbhadra regions have favourable conditions for producing wind energy.
A government official claims that Yogi Adityanath government in UP has launched a new solar energy policy to give filip to renewable energy projects. Under the new solar energy policy, the UP government has approved a proposal for setting up solar power plants at a total cost of Rs 7,500 crore by 2022 in order to produce 1,535 mw of solar energy, the government official said.
Moreover, the state government had invited private investment of Rs 2,492 crore under Bio-Energy Enterprise Promotion Policy, which helped setting up of solar power units of 180 mw capacity at a cost of Rs 720 crore.
“We had made a commitment to the people during our election campaign to intensify our renewable energy projects and are fulfilling the same,” A K Sharma, Energy minister said.
Meanwhile, the state has intensified laying of cable networks for rural electrification. The solar rooftops of 225 mw capacity have been installed across the state to illuminate the countryside with solar street lights.
“The installation of 180,000 solar power units has transformed rural pockets, where power outage is now a rare affair. This stands in sharp contrast to the situation during previous governments when power supply was available only for a few hours,” Sharma said.