KUSUM Current Affairs - 2019

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State Power Ministers Conference

A two – day state power ministers conference starting on October 11, 2019, is to be held in the banks of Narmada river at Kevadia, Gujarat. The conference will be inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Power RK Singh.

The conference is to be held near the Statue of Unity, the tallest structure in the world. The congregation of the state energy departments is to be held on the banks of River Narmada. This is to signify that Narmada was the first river to have a canal top solar power plant in India.

Highlights of the conference

  • Schemes to promote clean energy is to be the prime focus of the conference.
  • Discussions related to emerging technologies in renewable and sustainable energy sector
  • Implementation of Prime Minister Kusum Scheme. The major components of the scheme are as follows
    • Provide solar run irrigation pumps to the farmers
    • Solarization of 10 lakh existing grid connected pumps.
  • Renewable energy development in the border areas. Recently GoI has also proposed construction of wind and solar projects in the Indo – Pakistan border.
  • Ease of doing business in solar and wind energy space
  • Issues related to regulatory matters, land and infrastructure
  • Discussions about projects for Ultra Mega Renewable Energy parks
  • The scheme of roof top solar projects will also be discussed. This is a scheme which certainly needs the support of the states.

The conference is being hosted by the Gujarat Government. In the event, there will be presentation on the achievement in the power and energy sector by the government in the past 10 years. There will also be detailed briefing about how Gujarat provides 24 – hour electricity through Jyoti Gram Scheme

Jyoti Gram yojana

It was an initiative of the Gujarat Government to ensure 24 – hour power supply to rural areas to farmers in scattered farm houses.

Instructions by the Center

The Union Ministry will make the following request to the states

  • PPAs should not be re – negotiated. The provisions under PPAs has to be enforced in letter and spirit. The payment to the generators, especially solar and wind, by the DISCOMS should be made on FIFO (First In First Out) basis
  • The Center will also instruct to expedite supply reforms, renewable capacity addition and improve energy efficiency standards.

The PPA issue

Recently many states reviewed or cancelled PPA with the renewable projects. The State’s decision to review renewable PPAs created controversies. The power generators moved to the High Court. The HC asked them to raise their grievances before the AP Electricity Regulatory Commission.

CCEA approves launch of KUSUM scheme

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the launch of KUSUM, Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan scheme. The scheme aims to provide financial and water security to farmers through harnessing solar energy capacities of 25.75 gigawatts (GW) by 2022.

Component of the Scheme

The scheme has three components:

  • 10,000 megawatt (MW) of decentralised ground mounted grid-connected renewable power plants (Component-A).
  • Installation of 17.50 lakh standalone solar powered agriculture pumps (Component-B).
  • Solarisation of 10 lakh grid-connected solar powered agriculture pumps (Component-C).

Component-B will be implemented in a full-fledged manner whereas Component-A and Component-C will be implemented on pilot mode for 1,000 MW capacity and one lakh grid-connected agriculture pumps, respectively. They would be scale up later after the pilot run.

Features of the Scheme

  • Renewable power plants of capacity 500 kilowatts (kW) to 2 MW will be set up by individual farmers, cooperatives, panchayats, or farmer producer organisations (FPO) on their barren or cultivable lands.
  • The power generated will be purchased by the distribution companies (Discoms) at tariffs determined by respective state electricity regulatory commissions (SERC).
  • The scheme will open a stable and continuous source of income to the rural landowners.
  • Performance-based incentives at Rs 0.40 per unit for five years will be provided to Discoms.
  • Individual farmers will be supported in installing standalone solar pumps of capacity up to 7.5 horsepower (HP).
  • Solar PV capacity in kW equal to the pump capacity in HP is allowed under the scheme.
  • Individual farmers will be supported to solarise pumps of capacity up to 7.5 HP.
  • The farmer will be able to use the generated energy to meet the irrigation needs and the excess available energy will be sold to Discom.
  • This creates an avenue for extra income to the farmers, and for the states to meet their renewable purchase obligation (RPO) targets.

The scheme will have a substantial environmental impact in terms of savings of CO2 emissions. It is estimated that three components of the scheme combined together would result in savings of about 27 million tonnes of CO2 emission per annum.