According to reports, there’s a world of difference between drafting a policy and carrying it through. This was made evident by how dissimilar Haryana’s ‘renewable energy dream’ turned out to be from the state’s ‘renewable energy reality.’
“The state government aims to achieve a minimum of 500 MW… generated through renewable energy projects by 2012,” – these were the terms set by the official power policy. However, the actual figures achieved by the end of the previous year – just over 164 MW – were a sorry sight, to say the least.
What explains this failure? And most importantly, what can an energy-hungry state like Haryana do to make a more efficient shift to alternative sources such as solar, wind and biomass in the coming years?
The department of renewable energy, government of Haryana, the HAREDA, which oversees the state’s green projects, explained last year’s fiasco by quoting high prices of green energy, which has shrunk the already tiny consumer-base for alternative power.
“Solar power here is subsidized by the central government. But even then, the costs were quite high. I believe this is what led to a decline in its popularity, and made people more averse to spending money on it,” said Karnail Singh Sandhu, project officer, solar energy, HAREDA. Sandhu said last year’s targets were missed due only to high costs, to remedy which the state government
has introduced new subsidies this year. “To government agencies, schools and other facilities, the centre was giving 30% financial assistance on solar power. Now, the state is offering an additional 40%, making personal solar plants 70% cheaper,” he said, adding that 2013 is going to be a good year for the department.
The state is generating around 7.8 MW of solar electricity at the moment, and another 6.5 MW have been commissioned under various projects, carried out in partnership with private firms.
The private sector in this field itself is faced with the usual stumbling blocks of officialdom and red-tape. “The implementation is given a limited time, whereas awarding a project takes a long time,” said Rajeev Kumar, who organizes the Renewable Energy India Forum, a common platform for both the private players and the policymakers.
It will greatly benefit the state’s renewable energy record to sort out these stage-one hiccups. “Land acquisition is also a major issue for private manufacturers.”
Another hurdle seems to be a lack of awareness among people. The Rajiv Gandhi Renewable Energy Park (RGREP) is a facility located in Gurgaon’s
Sector 29, which is managed and run by Advit Foundation. “According to a recent survey, only 56% of the 500 people interviewed had heard of the term ‘renewable energy.’ This goes to show how few people actually understand what renewable energy is. Creating awareness is an integral part of shifting the paradigm towards a more sustainable future,” said Gaurav Tiwari of Advit Foundation.