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Green Horizons: Harnessing Renewable Energy in India’s Northeastern Region

By - King Stubb & Kasiva on December 15, 2023

Introduction

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), led by Union Minister Shri R. K. Singh, is at the forefront of ambitious renewable energy efforts. As per a recent Press Release by the Ministry, the focus extends to the northeastern states, including Sikkim, a region notable for its ability to significantly contribute to the renewable energy sector.[1]

The schemes, which include decentralized solar power facilities, bioenergy efforts, rooftop solar programmes, etc., highlight the government's comprehensive and diverse approach. The financial assistance, incentives, and initiatives demonstrate the commitment to advancing renewable energy as a strategic imperative. This update will highlight the following schemes, particularly for the northeastern states:

  • Rooftop Solar Programme Phase-II
  • PM-KUSUM scheme
  • Solar Park Scheme
  • Bioenergy Programmes

Rooftop Solar Programme Phase-II[2]

  • Objective: Addition of 4000 MW Residential Rooftop Solar (RTS) capacity in the northeaster (NE) states with Central Financial Assistance (CFA).
  • DISCOM Incentives: Additional incentives for DISCOMS with an initial target of 18000 MW RTS capacity.

CFA for the Residential Sector

  • CFA for projects implemented by DISCOMs via tender mode:
    • Upto 40% for capacity upto 3 kWp
    • Up to 20% for capacity beyond 3 kWp and up to 10 kWp
    • Up to 20% for GHS/RWA capacity up to 500 kWp (limited to 10 kWp per house, total up to 500 kWp)
  • CFA for projects under the national portal:[3]
    • Subsidy based on plant capacity for general and special category states.
Plant CapacitySubsidy (General Category)Subsidy (Special Category)
Up to 3 kWRs. 14588/- per kWRs. 17662/- per kW
Above 3 kW and up to 10 kWRs. 14588/- per kW for the first 3 kW, then Rs. 7294/- per kWRs. 17662/- per kW for the first 3 kW, then Rs. 8831/- per kW
Above 10 kWRs. 94822/- fixedRs. 114803/- fixed
  • Special category states include NE states, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, UTs of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), Ladakh, Lakshadweep, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Incentives to DISCOMs

  • For capacity addition achievements that exceed the baseline, DISCOMs are eligible for incentives of up to 10% of the project cost.

Key Takeaways

  • NE states receive higher subsidies compared to other states under this program.
  • Various capacity ranges have different subsidy rates.
  • DISCOMs receive additional incentives based on performance.

PM-KUSUM Scheme

This is a demand-driven scheme open to all farmers in India. It aims to support the development of renewable energy and improve the farmers’ lives by providing them access to clean and affordable energy.[4]

Component A: Decentralized Ground/Stilt Mounted Solar Power Plants

  • Target: 10,000 MW of solar power capacity
  • Eligible Participants: Individual farmers, solar power developers, cooperatives, panchayats, and farmer producer organizations
  • Benefits:
    • Barren/fallow/pasture/marshy land can be utilized for solar power generation.
    • DISCOMs receive a Procurement-Based Incentive (PBI) of 40 paise/kWh or Rs. 6.60 lakhs/MW/year (whichever is lower) to buy solar power.
    • PBI is paid for 5 years from the date of the plant’s commercial operation, totaling Rs. 33 lakhs per MW.

Component B: Installation of Stand-alone Solar Pumps

  • Target: 20 lakh stand-alone solar pumps
  • Eligible areas: Off-grid areas
  • Financial Assistance:
    • 50% of the benchmark cost or the tender cost (whichever is lower) for projects in NE states, Sikkim, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Lakshadweep, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
    • 30% of the benchmark cost or the tender cost (whichever is lower) for other states and UTs.

Component C: Solarisation of GRID-Connected Agriculture Pumps

  • Target: 15 lakh grid-connected agriculture pumps
  • Individual Pump Solarisation:
    • 50% of the solar PV component’s benchmark cost or the tender cost (whichever is lower) for projects in NE states, Sikkim, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Lakshadweep, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
    • 30% of the solar PV component’s benchmark cost or the tender cost (whichever is lower) for other states and UTs.
  • Feeder Level Solarisation:
    • State governments can solarize agricultural feeders in CAPEX or RESCO mode.
    • 50% CFA for projects in NE states, Sikkim, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Lakshadweep, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (upto Rs. 1.75 crore per MW).
    • 30% CFA for other states and UTs (upto Rs. 1.05 crore per MW).

Analysis

  • The scheme aims to increase the income of farmers, provide irrigation resources, and de-diesel the agricultural sector.
  • The scheme is available for all farmers, irrespective of their landholding size.
  • Farmers can install solar pumps and sell excess power to the grid.
  • The scheme is expected to create jobs in the renewable energy sector.

Solar Park Scheme: Financial Support for Developing Solar Parks

  • Detailed Project Report (DPR) Preparation: Upto Rs. 25 lakhs per Solar Park.
  • Infrastructure Development: Upto Rs. 30 lakhs per MW or 30% of the project cost (whichever is lower).

Bioenergy Programmes

ProgrammeSub-programmeCFA per unitMaximum CFA per projectRemarks
Biomass ProgrammeBriquette/Pellet manufacturing plantsRs. 9.00 Lakhs/ MTPHRs. 45.00 Lakhs-
Non-Bagasse Cogeneration ProjectsRs. 40 Lakhs/ MWRs. 5.00 Crore-
Waste to Energy ProgrammeBiogas generationRs. 0.25 crore per 12000 cum/dayRs. 5.00 crore-
BioCNG/Enriched Biogas/Compressed Biogas generation (New plant)Rs. 4.0 Crore per 4800 Kg/dayRs. 10 crores-
BioCNG/Enriched Biogas/Compressed Biogas generation (Existing plant)Rs. 3.0 Crore per 4800 Kg/dayRs. 10 crores-
Power generation based on Biogas (New plant)Rs. 0.75 Crore per MWRs. 5.00 crore-
Power generation based on Biogas (Existing plant)Rs. 0.5 crore per MWRs. 5.00 crore-
Power generation based on bio & agro-industrial wasteRs. 0.40 crore/MWRs. 5.00 crore-
Biomass Gasifier - Electric (Dual fuel engines)Rs. 2,500 per kWe--
Biomass Gasifier - Electric (100% gas engines)Rs. 15,000 per kWe--
Biomass Gasifier - ThermalRs. 2 lakh per 300 kWth--
Note:NE Region, Sikkim, HP, Uttarakhand, J&K, Ladakh, Lakshadweep & A&N Islands20% higher CFA--
Gaushalas using cattle dung20% higher CFA-Gaushalas must be registered with the state government
Biogas ProgrammeSmall biogas plants (1-25 cubic meters/day)Rs. 9800/- to Rs. 70,400/- per plant-Based on plant size
Large biogas plants (25-2500 cubic meters/day)Rs. 35,000/- to Rs. 45,000/- per kW (power)--
 Rs. 17,500/- to Rs. 22,500/- per kW equivalent (thermal)--

Conclusion

The northeastern region is well-positioned to have a substantial impact on India's renewable energy sector. Through initiatives such as the Rooftop Solar Programme, the PM-KUSUM scheme, and the Bioenergy Programmes, the government provides major financial support and incentives to promote the advancement of renewable energy in the region. The use of local resources and an emphasis on decentralized solutions ensure accessibility and sustainability. Significantly, the northeast receives higher subsidies than other states, demonstrating the government's commitment to empowering the region. Due to this all-encompassing scheme, the northeast is positioned as a forerunner in India's renewable energy transition, paving the way for a more sustainable and bright future.


[1] https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1983190.

[2] https://solarrooftop.gov.in/notification/Notification-21082019-143301.pdf.

[3] https://solarrooftop.gov.in/.

[4] https://pmkusum.mnre.gov.in/landing-about.html.


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