The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued a notification to set up 50 GW of ultra-mega renewable energy parks in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
The ultra-mega parks with a capacity of 25 GW each will be located at Khavada in Gujarat and Jaisalmer district in Rajasthan. The land will be made available to the developers for setting up of solar, wind, and solar wind hybrid projects at these locations.
Amitesh Kumar Sinha, the joint secretary, Government of India (GoI), said in a letter that these ultra-mega parks had received the necessary clearances of the respective state governments and the Ministry of Defense.
The MNRE has also requested the Ministry of Power to strengthen the transmission infrastructure to these locations within two years for the evacuation of power from these parks.
Tony Randhawa, the general secretary of Solar Association, said, “Though the move is a positive one, it is to be seen whether they are solar or wind or wind-solar hybrid projects as details are still not available in the public domain.”
Considering the capacity of the project, which is 25 GW each in two states, he asked, “Where is the investment coming from?”
Last year, the state government of Gujarat modified its land laws relating to the development of wind and hybrid (wind and solar) parks in the state. According to the Gujarat Power Corporation Limited Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL), wind and hybrid parks that will be developed in Gujarat will be developed on the same lines as solar parks. The GPCL official informed that this law had been brought into effect, keeping in mind that the central government agencies tender projects that can be set up anywhere in India. This used to create issues as the capacities were awarded without due diligence, and later the developers would face issues of land availability.
In December 2019, Rajasthan in its Solar Energy Policy, 2019, had mentioned that the state aims to achieve a target of 30 GW of solar power by financial year (FY) 2024-25. Of this, utility or grid-scale solar parks will account for 24 GW.
A few months ago, Rajasthan distribution companies had complained about the adverse financial implications in terms of load flow and transmission charges for the solar projects located there, even though there is no consumption within the state. The DISCOMs further noted they should not be bearing the burden of transmission charges or load flow, resulting in a higher point of connection charges for facilitating the transmission of power to other states.
Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.