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Karnataka MLAs set to work for efficient energy policy

Dec 09, 2013

The Karnataka Renewable Energy Policy 2009-14 estimates a renewable energy potential of about 18500 MW (excluding solar).

Belguam: In a meeting of MLAs held recently at Suvarna Soudha during the Karnataka Assembly session, a large number of multi-party legislators decided to form the Climate Parliament Karnataka Chapter. The MLAs will focus their legislative actions towards the development of more efficient state renewable energy policy and financial framework, so that renewable energy significantly aids in meeting the rising energy demands, in the wake of increasing energy deficits in the state over the last few years. The meeting was inaugurated by Dinesh Gundu Rao, Minister of State, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Karnataka Government.

In his inaugural speech on ‘Legislators Working towards a Clean Energy Future’, Dinesh Gundu Rao said that Karnataka is facing its share of power un-availability and high cost issues. The state is buying short term power to meet its demand. That is why it even more essential to utilise the abundant renewable energy that Karnataka has been blessed with to add to state’s power capacities. The state needs to achieve great success for having widespread installation of solar water heaters. Karnataka can also learn from other states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat on how they have managed large scale installation of renewable energies like wind and solar. This will help our industries tremendously.

According to Dinesh Gundu Rao, ‘local renewable energy applications can be a very potent source for us legislators to connect with our people in our respective constituencies. Energy is no more a luxury but just as important as basic needs like food, house, clothes. Whether it is day to day lighting, cooking, agricultural pumps, entertainment, telephone charging, energy is at the core of these activities and a basic need of the people. For instance, we all know how harmful it is for women to cook on open fire from traditional sources like wood and cow dung. It is also a problem for the kids and other household members who are in the vicinity due to the air pollution it causes. Clean cookstoves can be a very easy and simple solution to this problem. We understand the energy requirements of our people the best. Therefore it is imperative that legislators take a leadership role in forwarding this cause of providing access to energy through this clean and environmentally friendly source.’

In a presentation and subsequent discussion on ‘Renewable Energy in Karnataka’, it was said that the renewable energy potential estimates mentioned in the Renewable Energy Policy of the state seem to be conservative. Several recent studies indicate a much higher potential for renewable energy resources in the state. Thus the state should a carry out a comprehensive re-assessment of the renewable energy potential.

The Karnataka Renewable Energy Policy 2009-14 estimates a renewable energy potential of about 18500 MW (excluding solar). However, the current renewable energy installed capacity is only 4000 MW in the state.  Thus a huge renewable energy potential in the state still remains to be harnessed.

Land availability continues to be a constraint for the development of renewable energy projects in general and wind energy projects in particular.  The state also has sufficient wind energy potential in wastelands which is estimated to be about 30 GW at 80 m hub height by a recent study, based on satellite models of wind resource. Yet, realizing this potential is faced with several challenges and constraints. In case of wind power projects lack of efficient power evacuation infrastructure is also a major hindrance. Financing of renewable energy projects has been one of the most difficult tasks until now.

It was also suggested that the government should also focus on replacing the current Renewable Energy Policy with a more comprehensive and long term policy after 2014, which addresses several issues and gaps that currently exist for the renewable energy sector in the state. The Meeting was coordinated by Mukul Sharma, South Asia Director, Climate Parliament and Sumedha Basu, South Asia Policy Coordinator.

Some successful renewable energy projects for energy access and decentralized renewable energy applications in Karnataka state were also presented to the MLAs. The MLAs unanimously decided Dinesh Gundu Rao to be the Chairperson of the Karnataka Climate Parliament Chapter and resolved to meet in 2014 to finalise their action plans for future legislative actions.

Some MLAs who attended the meeting were: Dinesh Gundu Rao,  Sanjay Balaso Patil ,  N.A. Haris, Vasu, G.H. Srinivasa, S.T. Somashekhar, Shivannab, T. Venkataramanaiah, Arvind Bellad, P. Rajeev, P.M. NarendraSwamy , Yashwanthrao Gouda, V. Patil,  Vinay Kulkarni, P.R. Sudhakarlal, Ramesh B. Bhusanur, Ashwath Narayan, C.N.Srinivas, V Mane, Mahendra H Singhi, Sharanappa Kotagi, Priyank Kharge, S.N. Narayanaswamy, S.N. Reddy and Rebur Patil.

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