Nexus between politicians and utility businesses hampers solar implementation in Delhi/NCR

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Greentech Lead India: Lack of regulatory framework in terms of Renewable energy Purchase Obligation (RPO) mandate and a long term rooftop solar policy are the main hurdles that prevent the adoption of Rooftop solar in the Delhi NCT, says Anand Prabhu Pathanjali, energy campaigner, Greenpeace India.

“For any technology to get implemented and go for a mass adoption, there must be a specific policy and framework, which considers both the short and long-term benefits strategically,” Pathanjali said.

Recently Greenpeace India launched Switch on the Sun campaign in Delhi. The response from the government has been positive; however there have not been any concrete steps taken by the government in this direction.

The nexus between political class and utility companies is affecting the growth of renewable energy industry in the state, according to Pathanjali.

“In Delhi, the Electricity Distribution is completely privatized by two power giants namely Reliance and Tata, so the influences of these nexuses are indeed affecting the growth of the industry. Technically this nexus should result in establishing a strong policy and framework for the implementation of Solar in the state, but most of the times the bureaucracy and profit charts kill the prosperity.”

Recently one of the political parties claimed Delhi is a power surplus state. They also accused that DISCOMs are selling the surplus power to sister concerns, thus showing artificial loss to their firms; whereas those subsidiaries sell power at much higher rates thus making huge profits.

Greenpeace, however, says Delhi is not yet power surplus sate as there are areas like Pitampuri, Seelampur, Jahangirpuri, Uttamnagar, Dwaraka sector 7 stayed in darkness from 7-15 hrs in the months of June and July.

The artificial losses or so called projected losses on the revenue sheets of these utility companies definitely need to be audited, Pathanjali said.

Regarding the sale of power at higher rates, Pathanjali said, “Recently we have seen the case of Sassan UMPP owned by Reliance which is now under a lot of scrutiny regarding  the tariff setting for generation which is now 25 percent more than the quoted 1.77rs/unit and the irregularities with the Coal mines allocated in to this UMPP  as well. Well Privatization has indeed done many good reforms in this sector but monopolizing privatization and spearheading the sector on profit margins doesn’t help the aam aadmi in anyways.”

The Switch on the Sun Campaign has been launched with a goal “to bring an equitable, ambitious and effective Solar policy for the state of Delhi.”

Greenpeace has finished the 1st leg of campaigning  and launched the  roadmap report “ Rooftop Revolution : Unleashing Delhi’s Rooftop Potential.” The next phase will focus on political lobbying and strengthening with our allies, Pathanjali said.

“We would like to see positive steps being taken by the Delhi government to promote renewable energy in the energy mix of the national capital,” Pathanjali said.

(Picture source: NDTV)

Rajani Baburajan

[email protected]

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