Published on August 26th, 2014 | by Mridul Chadha5
Politics Threatens World’s Largest Solar Power Project
August 26th, 2014 by Mridul Chadha
An unpopular government’s legacy has become a burden for the new one, which could potentially lead to the scrapping of what has been planned as the world’s largest solar power project.
The Rajasthan state government in India has reportedly asked the central government to scrap plans to set up a 4,000 MW solar photovoltaic power project. The state government claims that the proposed project will threaten thousands of migratory birds that flock near the proposed project site every year.
Sources close to the government, however, claim that the Rajasthan Chief Minister is not too keen to pursue a project that had been planned during the tenure of the previous government, which was led by the United Progressive Alliance.
The proposed project is supposed to come up near Sambhar Lake in eastern Rajasthan. Officials of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy claim that about a fourth of the planned project area has been listed as environmentally and ecologically sensitive, and that area had already been excluded.
According to reports, the state Chief Minister wants to scrap the 4,000 MW solar power project, and pursue an ambitious state-directed solar power policy. Gujarat, under now-Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had earned global limelight after it established one of the largest solar power farms. To date, Gujarat continues to lead all Indian states in terms of installed capacity.
The central government had announced a budgetary outlay of ₹500 crore ($83 million US) this year for four ultra mega solar power projects across as many states. One of them has been proposed in the Rann of Kutch, another ecologically sensitive area in Gujarat.
Five government-owned companies – Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, Power Grid Corporation of India, Solar Energy Corporation of India, Hindustan Salts Limited and Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited – have already signed agreements to go ahead with the project. It would be interesting to see what stand the central government, led by Mr Modi, takes regarding the future of this ambitious project.
Image Credit: Gujarat Power Corporation Limited