To make a significant contribution to India’s commitment to green energy under Sustainable Development Goal 7 and to fortify Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment at COP26 in Glasgow, Assam, too, has decided to rev up its aggregate solar capacity with a series of aggressive steps in that direction.
The first step towards this end was the signing of the historic deal between Assam Power Distribution Company Limited, the production arm of the State Power Department and the Public Sector Undertakings NLC India Limited recently to generate 1,000 MW of renewable power in Assam. The MoU was signed by the Managing Director of APDCL Rakesh Kumar and Director (Planning and Projects) of NLCIL K. Mohan Reddy in the presence of Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union Minister for Coal, Mines, and others, Pralhad Joshi at a function held in Janata Bhawan on August 9.
Dr. Sarma termed it a historic day for the State in the field of power generation. He said that since power requirement in Assam is increasing by the day, it was incumbent on the State to respond accordingly with an eye on the issue of climate change, as envisioned by the Prime Minister.
He informed the gathering that Assam will witness investment of an additional ₹ 4,000 crore in yet another project besides the one in question to produce an additional 1,000 MW power.
“This is a Central Government initiative. We have got an in-principle approval of an Asian Development Bank loan for this. This will be implemented fully by APDCL. So, Assam will see a total of around ₹ 10,000 crore investment to produce 2,000 MW of renewable energy in the coming years,” Sarma said.
Union Minister Joshi said that apart from empowering the people with the required energy, the initiative will develop Assam by creating employment opportunities, technical knowhow and overall uplift of the State.
Consequent to a series of deliberation, a joint venture company (JVC) with equity participation in the ratio of 51: 49 between NLCIL and APDCL was inked wherein
₹ 5,000 crore will be invested in Assam to boost power generation with a resultant growth in economic activities and employment generation.
Rakesh Kumar, MD, APDCL, while talking to Asom Barta, said that the JVC is a symbiotic deal. Whereas Assam will profit by way of monetization of unused land, enhanced generation profile of the State and technical uplift, the Navratna CPSU will benefit by way of business expansion to meet its renewable energy target and hassle-free land availability. This, in turn, will ensure economies of scale to ensure the commercial viability of this project.
“Around 2,000 personnel will be engaged during the construction stage and around 1,000 personnel during the operational stage,” Kumar said while listing the employment generation ability of the project.
The JVC states that APDCL shall facilitate the allotment of land, preferably closer to sub-stations of CTU/ STU / APDCL. The JVC shall initially take up solar power projects with an aggregate capacity of around 1,000 MW upon availability of required land from APDCL.
Kumar said that more than 16,000 bighas of land has already been allotted in the name of APDCL which includes 10,000 bighas at Karbi Anglong , 5,000 bighas at Dima Hasao and 1,000 bighas at Bilasipara in Dhubri district. Apart from this, a process of transfer of user rights on 12,261 hectares of the water bodies under the Fishery Department of the State Government is also underway.
Besides this, the APDCL has received an approval from the Ministry of Finance for installation of 1,000 MW solar power plants under its ‘Mukhya Mantri Saura Shakti Prokolpo‘ as reported by Asom Barta in its earlier issue.
On August 19, the State Cabinet had approved signing of an MoU between APDCL and SJVN Green Energy Limited (SGEL), a wholly owned subsidiary of SJVNL for development of 1,000 MW Renewable Energy Power Projects by creating yet another JVC.
The APDCL top brass is of the view that the successful commissioning of these projects will not only increase the power generation capacity of the State but also lead to a massive reduction in carbon emission.
State Power Minister Nandita Gorlosa along with several other State ministers, and senior bureaucrats were present on the occasion.