Dalmia Cement Promises Rs 250 Cr Solar Plant In Jharkhand

Highlights :

  • Corporate Initiatives to add renewable capacity in Jharkhand should be welcomed, and even incentivised, to wean the state away from thermal power.
  • It’s huge coal reserves means the task is challenging, but a start needs to be made to at least meet its RPO obligations.

Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd, which had earlier become the first cement company to join RE100 – a global collaborative initiative of the world’s most influential companies committed to 100% renewable power, has committed to a Rs 250 crore investment in a solar plant to supply power to a planned additional grinding unit in the state. Plant capacity is expected to be between 40-50 MW.

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After adding 8 MW solar PV capacity for its captive use, Dalmia Cement had set an interim target to increase fourfold its percentage of renewable energy consumption by 2030 compared to 2015. Current share of renewables is around 7% it seems. The firm is in the  middle of a capacity expansion plan to take its cement manufacturing capacity from 33 million tonnes currently to reaching 48.5million tonnes by 2024

For Jharkhand, a mineral resource rich state with one of the poorest records on meeting its renewable purchase obligation (RPOs) on renewable energy, such efforts by major corporates should be welcome as it helps the state make a start on a road to cleaner energy. As the state is also one of the poorest in India.

Its current RPO obligations of  21% is divided equally into 10.50% of solar and non-solar power. This figure is due to go up to 25% by 2023-24. With the state dependent on large mining operations, renewable energy has been the last priority until now for both official and private players, as they sought to use the easily available coal locally to run operations, including massive captive power consumption.

But with global players like Tata Steel and Tata Motors in the state, besides the others like Dalmia Cement of course, there is a strong case for these larger corporates to get the state started with larger solar capacity creation, before the rest of the state catches up.

Thankfully, a start has already been made with Tata Steel and Tata Power, coming together to develop a grid-connected solar project in Jharkhand and Odisha. The two companies have signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for a duration of 25 years to set up 41MW solar project, which will be a combination of rooftop, floating and ground mounted solar panels. Under the project, Tata Power will develop Photo Voltaic (PV) capacities for Tata Steel at Jamshedpur (21.97MWp) and Kalinganagar (19.22MWp).

The government machinery in Jharkhand is remarkably poor, with key renewable bodies like the Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA) lying practically defunct with no leadership roles worth the name filled up.

Along with neighbouring Bihar, Bengal and Assam to an extent, these states in the East really do need to get moving on the path to more renewable capacity, to avoid the tag of being  perennial laggards.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International

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