MNRE Gets Approval For Rs 454 Crore Spends To Support Renewables for the Next 5 Years

Highlights :

  • These approvals cover initiatives to support research, publicity and Human Resource development in the renewable space.
  • While part of the MNRE mandate, one wishes the approach could be modernised for changing market needs and environment
MNRE Gets Approval For Rs 454 Crore Spends To Support Renewables for the Next 5 Years

The approvals, covering the period 2021-22 to 2025-26, have all been communicated this week. Covering the areas of supporting research and development (Rs 228 crores), Public Awareness (Rs 26 crores) and Human Resources Development ( Rs 200 crores), the idea is to provide the MNRE with funds to achieve key objectives.

While readers will be able to see the detailed orders provided in the links above, we can’t but help wonder if the approach to utilising these finds does not need to change.

For instance, when it comes to Human resources, while there is no doubt that the Surya mitra program supported with the funding serves a useful purpose, the change we would like to see is higher industry involvement in training and direct hiring from among these trainees to really maximise the jobs potential of the sector. MNRE, as the ministry that is increasingly involved with allowing or disallowing what can be sold, also needs to fund long term research on the performance of renewable energy plants, be it in solar, wind , biomass or even Biogas. Where we donot yet have plants that are old enough to be studied, perhaps there is a case to study plants based on the same technology of greater vintage outside the country even.

We say this simply because it is obvious that our obsession with low costs have led us to make far too many compromises on the quality front, and first hand reports of the rigour of inspection involved in say, the ALMM process, leave much to be desired frankly. Formal, long term studies that track degradation in out put for instance are critical to make informed decisions as even more funds are invested.

Similarly, it is upto the MNRE to invest resources on drawing up a policy, and the potential, in areas like repowering, where wind energy in particular should offer a lot more potential right now. Similarly, in times to come, repowering of old solar plants might be a fit case for study, even as their PPA’s have years left before expiry. Repowering is an issue that matters because of the potential it offers to increase output without major investments in land, and in many cases, even transmission infra.

Similarly, the failure to push for support and higher adoption of rooftop solar is a glaring anomaly, and one hopes a more planned, concerted effort that will need support from all three focus areas above will be made soon to progress here too. States like Gujarat offer a readymade template, after all.

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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