Jharkhand Misses Alt Energy Target, Govt Data Shows

Jharkhand has been a habitual defaulter in meeting the renewable energy purchase obligation (RPO) as mandated by the Centre for achieving the ambitious dream of 175GW power through renewable sources by 2022.

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RPO is a mechanism by which the obligated entities which includes discoms, open access consumers and captive power producers, are obliged to purchase certain percentage of electricity from renewable energy sources, as a percentage of the total consumption of electricity.

RPOs are categorized as solar and non-solar. With the objective of achieving the target of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, including solar energy capacity of 100 GW, the ministry of power (MoP) has notified the target RPO trajectory up to year 2022 for all the states and Union Territories.

The obligation for Jharkhand, beginning year 2010-11, for renewable power was fixed at 2% of net energy consumption of 16,443.84 million units back then. Out of this 2%, category breakup of 0.25% solar —corresponding to 41.11 million units and 1.75% of non-solar corresponding to 287.77MU was fixed.

While not a single unit of solar power was purchased resulting in shortfall of entire 41.11Mu obligation, in non-solar category 46.88 MU power was purchased indicating a shortfall of 240.89MU in 2010-11. The trend of short fall has continued all through. In the year 2016-17, solar and non-solar obligation was fixed at 1.80% corresponding to 370.88 MU and 3.50% corresponding to 721.16MU respectively.

In comparison, the achievement was 98.15 MU and 120.30 MU in both the categories respectively indicating an overall shortfall of 873.59MU.

The achievement deteriorated further in the year 2017-18, when solar and non-solar obligation was fixed at 3.75% and 4% of net consumption respectively corresponding to 290.96 MU and 310.35 MU and not a single unit was purchased in either category resulting in collective shortfall of entire 601.31 MU.

Jharkhand State Electricity Regulatory Commission (JSERC) notified the JSERC (Renewable Energy Purchase Obligation and its compliance) (First Amendment) Regulations, 2021 on January 21 this year thereby fixing the annual target for RPO. Under the new notification, the total obligation of 21% divided equally into 10.50% of solar and non-solar power is to be included in 2021-22. It must be increased to 23% by 2022-23 and further to 25% of net energy consumption by 2023-24.

Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA) is the state agency mandated to achieve the given target and file its quarterly compliance report to the commission.

As of date, the commission is lying defunct without a chairman, secretary or members as a result of which the agency is not sure where to file the compliance reports.

Project director JREDA Bijay Kumar Sinha said the agency is working on three kinds of projects for harnessing solar power — canal top, rooftop on government buildings and installation of solar-powered water pumps in farmers’ fields.

“The 2MW canal-top solar plant, 3MW solar plant for airport and a 150MW floating panel solar plant by SECI is in the pipeline whereas around 23MW collective rooftop grid connected solar power plants on government buildings, around 16MWs of off-grid plants in Deoghar and Seraikela and roughly 2MWs of rooftop plants in private buildings have been commissioned,” he said.

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