NTPC Ltd., formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation, is planning to develop 500MW wind and solar energy projects in the Indian state of Orissa. NTPC is India’s largest power generation company and generates a big majority of power from coal-fired power plants. However, the company is now foraying into renewable energy and low carbon intensive generation technologies like hydro, nuclear and renewables.
The company recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Orissa government in order to obtain approva for setting up the power plant. Orissa is a coastal state located in the south-eastern part of India. In addition to significant offshore wind resources, Orissa also blessed with substantial solar energy resource. The company has signed similar MoUs with the government agencies in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, all highly potential areas on India’s energy map.
Karnataka and Rajasthan receive some of the highest daily global solar radiation (DGSR) in India. Rajasthan receives DGSR of 4.2 to 7 kwh/m²/day while Karnataka receives DGSR of 4.4 to 6.6 kwh/m²/day during various months. Additionally, both these states also have vast stretches of unused or waste land which are apt for large scale renewable energy projects. Karnataka and Gujarat are experience some of the strongest winds in India. Andaman and Nicobar islands are the remotest part of India and has vast potential in solar and wind energy resources. The solar and wind energy resources are ample enough to meet the energy demand of the 350,000 or so inhabitants. Local power generation would also redue the energy prices since it would reduce energy imports from the mainland.
NTPC is looking to diversify its energy basket from coal and gas to nuclear, hydro and renewables. India’s domestic coal reserves are dwindling and foreign coal imports would not do any good to its strategic interests (India learnt that lesson from the Iran gas pipeline fiasco). Additionally, India has set a target of carbon intensity to 20-25% by 2020 from 2005 levels and in the near future it will have to agree to cut real carbon emissions. So moving to renewables and less carbon intensive energy technologies is an intelligent move.
By 2017 NTPC aims to more than double its present installed power capacity of 31,134 MW to 75,000 MW out of which coal and gas would contribute about 53,000 and 10,000 MW respectively. Nuclear power plants would contribute about 2000 MW while hydro and renewables would respectively contribute 9000 and 1000 MW. Keeping in view the initial agreements with at least four government agencies and the national push for solar energy technologies through National Solar Energy Mission, one can expect NTPC to top its ‘1000 MW by 2017’ goal.
Renewable energy projects are exempt from taxes and with the government is also considering various other financial incentives to stimulate growth in renewable energy technologies. With plans to levy tax on coal to fund renewable energy projects it is a smart move by NTPC to keep the money within the company and reap the benefits of tax breaks.
Source: Business Standard
The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views and do not represent those of TERI/TERI University where the author is currently pursuing a Master’s degree.
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