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Experts point to alternative sources

By AJIT PATOWARY
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GUWAHATI, May 19 � The recent ten-day power crisis in this power deficit State that resulted from the collapse of two towers on the two 400 Kv circuits of the Power Grid of India Ltd (PGCIL) near New Alipurduwar, has made people seriously think about utilising the alternative power sources. Experts in non-conventional power sources here claim that it is high time for the State to go for non-conventional energy in a big way.

Though the State has less wind power potential to meet its power demand, it has the solar power potential that can be utilized to meet its power demand to some extent.

The State has around 4.4 to 5.6 KWh of solar power potential per square metre per day, as per an estimate made by The Energy Research Institute (TERI), whereas, its wind power density is concentrated in three pockets --- in its western part, in Karbi Anglong and in parts of North Cachar Hills and Cachar, as per the study done the Chennai-based Centre for Wind Energy Technology. The number of clear days in Assam is estimated to be approximately within 240 to 260.

With the announcement of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission with a target of exploring 20,000 MW of solar power in the country by the end of the 13 th Plan, that is, 2022, the country is gearing up to realise this goal.

But, most of the players engaged in harnessing solar energy prefer states like Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka. The reason is very simple � these states enjoy maximum solar intensity and the generation potential from the available solar energy there is between 5.6 and 6.6 KWh per square metre per day. Conversely, this figure is between 4.4 and 5.4 KWh per square metre per day in the North Eastern region of the country.

The North Eastern region hence cannot attract big players because of its geographical drawback. Now, this geographical drawback needs to be compensated with some Government incentives to bring it on a par with the rest of the country, say the experts.

The State can take advantage of the Central Government policy for providing 90 per cent capital subsidy for off- grid solar projects set up in Government buildings and complexes. In case all Government buildings like PWD buildings, Kar Bhawan, Krishi Bhawan, State Secretariat as well as Central Government offices and complexes are equipped with such arrangements to utilize solar energy, they can make considerable contribution to improve the prevailing power scenario of the State, argue the experts.

Use of solar power during the daytime will cut down use of conventional power from the grid and thereby assist in making power available to deprived areas including rural sectors.

Moreover, as the Government of India provides 30 per cent subsidy to individual beneficiaries including NGOs, private and non-Government setups, the State Government may go for 20 per cent subsidy to these institutions reducing the size of the upfront investment from 70 per cent to 50 per cent for these institutions.

For the purpose, the institutions, which provide direct benefit to common people like nursing homes, educational institutions, big hotels etc., may perhaps be provided 20 per cent subsidy by the State Government considering their impacts on the society. This will ultimately drastically reduce dependence on Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB)/ Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL) grid power and make such setups self-reliant, said the experts.

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Experts point to alternative sources

GUWAHATI, May 19 � The recent ten-day power crisis in this power deficit State that resulted from the collapse of two towers on the two 400 Kv circuits of the Power Grid of India Ltd (PGCIL) near New Alipurduwar, has made people seriously think about utilising the alternative power sources. Experts in non-conventional power sources here claim that it is high time for the State to go for non-conventional energy in a big way.

Though the State has less wind power potential to meet its power demand, it has the solar power potential that can be utilized to meet its power demand to some extent.

The State has around 4.4 to 5.6 KWh of solar power potential per square metre per day, as per an estimate made by The Energy Research Institute (TERI), whereas, its wind power density is concentrated in three pockets --- in its western part, in Karbi Anglong and in parts of North Cachar Hills and Cachar, as per the study done the Chennai-based Centre for Wind Energy Technology. The number of clear days in Assam is estimated to be approximately within 240 to 260.

With the announcement of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission with a target of exploring 20,000 MW of solar power in the country by the end of the 13 th Plan, that is, 2022, the country is gearing up to realise this goal.

But, most of the players engaged in harnessing solar energy prefer states like Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka. The reason is very simple � these states enjoy maximum solar intensity and the generation potential from the available solar energy there is between 5.6 and 6.6 KWh per square metre per day. Conversely, this figure is between 4.4 and 5.4 KWh per square metre per day in the North Eastern region of the country.

The North Eastern region hence cannot attract big players because of its geographical drawback. Now, this geographical drawback needs to be compensated with some Government incentives to bring it on a par with the rest of the country, say the experts.

The State can take advantage of the Central Government policy for providing 90 per cent capital subsidy for off- grid solar projects set up in Government buildings and complexes. In case all Government buildings like PWD buildings, Kar Bhawan, Krishi Bhawan, State Secretariat as well as Central Government offices and complexes are equipped with such arrangements to utilize solar energy, they can make considerable contribution to improve the prevailing power scenario of the State, argue the experts.

Use of solar power during the daytime will cut down use of conventional power from the grid and thereby assist in making power available to deprived areas including rural sectors.

Moreover, as the Government of India provides 30 per cent subsidy to individual beneficiaries including NGOs, private and non-Government setups, the State Government may go for 20 per cent subsidy to these institutions reducing the size of the upfront investment from 70 per cent to 50 per cent for these institutions.

For the purpose, the institutions, which provide direct benefit to common people like nursing homes, educational institutions, big hotels etc., may perhaps be provided 20 per cent subsidy by the State Government considering their impacts on the society. This will ultimately drastically reduce dependence on Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB)/ Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL) grid power and make such setups self-reliant, said the experts.

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