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Land clearance for wind energy projects to be quicker

Bangalore: Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Energy Department, Shamim Bhanu has assured promoters of wind energy projects that the Energy Department officials would have talks with their counterparts in the Revenue Department to ensure that the process for getting clearances to purchase or take land on lease for the projects is speeded up.

Ms. Shamim Bhanu was addressing the gathering at 15th Annual General Meeting of the Indian Wind Power Association (IWPA)-Chennai, in Bangalore on Thursday.

Ms. Shamim Bhanu said, “But I want to make it clear that I am not going to seek any amendment in the Revenue laws or doing away with any of the processes for grant or purchase of land. I am only trying to cut down on the time required for going through these processes.” She said that at present it takes about six to seven years for the promoters to commission wind energy projects in Karnataka.

IWPA president K. Kasthoorirangaian urged the Karnataka Government to remove the bottlenecks that had delayed the process of setting up windmill in the State. Such hurdles had affected Karnataka’s wind energy sector so much that it had been able to increase its installed capacity by an average of about 200 MW a year as against 1,000 MW by Tamil Nadu.

The meeting decided to appeal to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to conduct a feasibility study for setting up offshore wind energy projects and to appeal to the States to exempt wind energy from electricity consumption tax.

Tariff for solar units

Ms. Shamim Bhanu said the State Government has requested the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission to determine tariff for roof-top grid-connected solar units. She said the regulator should to come up with a discussion paper on the issue.

She pointed out that at present the tariff for roof-top solar plant had not been fixed in the State.

She suggested that the State should try the hybrid option of tapping solar power by erecting solar photovoltaic cells below windmills in the vacant space available in the project site.