Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday urged states and Union territories to replace conventional electricity meters with prepaid smart meters in three years, with the aim of cutting distribution losses and setting the stage for separating the carriage and content operations of power distribution companies (discoms). Carriage refers to the distribution aspect and content to power. India’s average aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses are at 21.4%, pushing up the dues of discoms to power generating companies to ₹72,938 crore at the end of November.
Citing that pollution as a matter of concern, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman allocated ₹4,400 crore for National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) for the year 2020-21 in Union Budget 2020. Central government will also encourage states that are formulating and implementing plans for ensuring cleaner air in cities with above one million population, added Finance Minister. "In large cities having population above one million, polluted air is a matter of concern," said Sitharaman while detailing plans for environment and climate change during Budget 2020.
Solar power developers in India are crying foul over the government’s move to raise tariffs on imports of green energy equipment such as solar cells and modules in the budget. The step is aimed at driving local manufacturing of such equipment and discouraging low-quality Chinese imports but companies believe the tariff increase made through an enabling mechanism in the budget will hurt their business. Once a separate notification is issued, a new duty structure enabling a basic customs duty (BCD) of 20% on cells and modules will come into effect.
Power minister R K Singh on Saturday said the government will soon bring out schemes for discom revival, liquidation of discom dues and amend the Electricity Act to introduce hefty penalties on reneging of any kind of contract. Singh said Power Finance Corporation will set up an alternate investment fund to assist state distribution companies repay the over Rs 83,500 crore dues to thermal power plants. Ireda will set up a similar fund for states to help clearing dues to renewable plants.
Greenko Group with 900 mega watts (MW) and Renew Power with 300 MW bag Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) reverse auction for the world’s largest renewable energy cum storage power purchase tender. The tender was for 1200 MW with 600 MW assured supply for 6 hours daily during peak demand hours was oversubscribed. Such a project requires a storage capacity that includes pumped hydro and battery of about 3000 MW and renewable energy generation capacity. The renewable power generated from these tendered projects is expected to meet the peak requirements of the distribution companies..
India aims to boost solar power generation by encouraging the installation of panels along rail tracks and on barren land, the finance minister said on Saturday as the country looks to cut its carbon footprint and accelerate clean energy production. Looking to expedite clean energy as some coal-fired power plants face closure, Asia's third-largest economy has set a target to raise renewable energy capacity to 175 gigawatts by 2022. Its renewable capacity rose 16% to 85.9 GW in 2019, while coal-fired capacity rose 3.9% to 198.5 GW.
The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evem Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM) scheme has been expanded to cover 20 lakh farmers, up from 17.5 lakh farmers it was initially intended to cover. The scheme was initially announced in Budget 2019 to provide a parallel source of income to farmers. It took the Centre over a year to get the Cabinet’s approval for the same primarily because of the massive budgetary support required. It was initially proposed that this ₹1.44-lakh crore scheme would solarise every agricultural pump and replace all the grid-connected pumps with solar power over 10 years.
The Union Budget on Saturday proposed to increase customs duty on import of electric vehicles across categories. The increase in basic customs duty is in the ranges of 10-40 percentage points across EV segment, and comes in the backdrop of Chinese manufacturers dumping low-quality battery packs for EVs in India. These measures will result in a rise in prices of existing electric buses and passenger vehicles sold in India by Olectra Greentech, Hyundai Motor India Limited and MG Motor India Limited.
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