Energy and power requirements are basic essentials for the Industry to Invest , just as Karnataka lays the red carpet for the world to invest in Karnataka through its showcase InvestKarnataka 2016. The good news came from the energy Minister of the state D K Shivakumar who is working to make the state power Surplus by June this year. The Sunday Guardian’s Vijay Grover caught up with the minister as he gives final shape to various proposals for investment in power. The biggest feather in the cap being the first of its kind Mega Solar powerpark with participation from the farming community. D K Shivakumar had a lot to to say as he is hoping that some major MoU’s and agreements will be signed during the Invest Karnataka 2016

TSG :  The basic need for any investment is power .All eyes are on the power sector, what steps have been taken in the last 2 years to ensure the industry doesn’t suffer of power shortage

DKS :  we are encouraging investors in power sectors in a big way, we have lined up several meetings and will be signing agreements with various multinational companies and Indian companies who are keen to invest in Karnataka. The agreements are in various sectors, thermal , solar and hydel power which we will be sharing with you in the next few days.

As power demands are rising with expected growth we are allowing expansion of existing projects immediately. Udipipower corporation ltdis being expanded to 2800 MW from existing 1200 MW and Jindal sw will also be expanded with Power purchase agreement as per central government promoted new tariff policy on thermal .

With solar energy we are encouraging capital investment and am proud to say that despite all problems in country over land acquisition, this being congress govt we have demonstrated a unique formula to country that without buying land of farmers we can set up mega projects. We are taking the land on lease so there is a win win situation. Over all we are obtaining 12000 acres of land in one place and 2000 mega watt is going to be generated there and it is biggest solar park in the world which will come up at pavagada in Karnataka. The best thing is that the Farmers are also a part of system and the government will begetting power at 4.50 rs. The tariff has already been approved by the central government.

TSG : The word’s Biggest Solar park in 12000 acres, wherein you are including the farmers in it sounds very interesting concept of inclusive growth. What has been the response of the farming community?

DKS: the farmers have voluntarily participated in the project ,  In this government we care for the Farmers and believe they shouldn’t sell their land . We got over 23000 applications  for using farms for solar energy but we could clearance to 200 people. The applications was huge and successful

TSG : What iis the Surya Raitha Scheme ? What is its USP..?

DKS : We have launched the Surya Raitha ( Solar farmer ) its open for those farmers  who have  solar pump. Farmers have use for it only for 200 days then for 150 days they can generate power and connect it to grid and power is generated. The best thing is that nowhere in the country we have situation where the farmer can earn by contributing to power grid. The final processing is happening  on this project by Sun Edison . Already many other state’s CMs are asking for this and many states will be doing it soon. It will benefit all the country.

Farmers will also be getting day power which means they don’t have to wait in the middle of the night for power
Apart from that we have encouraged investment of upto 20 mega watt solar projects in every taluk of the state  where there is good sunshine then they will have power.

TSG :Hydel power is a key power source traditionally for the state, what are the changes that you are bringing to this sector harness more power ?

DKS : The central govt had a cap  policy that earlier we needed permissions from the river authority and other departments to modernize , set-up or expand but now If the project is not more than 1000 crores no permission is needed from any other departments. This will facilitate quick set up of new projects Central govt has removed various caps and by next year there will be surplus power in the state.We are inviting medium term and long term tenders soon and we should see additional power generation to ensure that we work towards the surplus power scenario.

TSG : You have proposed some expansion and modernization plans for Wind energy ? Can you share some details.

DKS : Karnataka was one of the first states to harness wind energy . We have demonstrated that this can be a clean source of energy . The central government has also given some clearances and fresh power tariffs have been approved . We are encouraging investment on wind energy sector. The government  policy is approving repowering from their old sites. Oldd machines which generated lesser power like 15 kilo watt will be allowed to be replaced with wind machines of bigger size and giving them a new tariff approved by the government. We are open to new ideas and green ideas for power generation and definitely ensure that every investor who comes here doesn’t have to think about lack of power.

The central govt had a policy that earlier we needed permission from the river authority but now If the project is more than 1000 crores no permission is needed from anyone. Central govt has removed various caps and by next year there will be surplus power in the state.

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