Assam to increase solar power capacity by 10,000 MW

Assam to increase solar power capacity by 10,000 MW

Assam wants to increase its solar power generation capacity by 2,000 MW at an investment of around 10,000 crore over the next three-four years, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Tuesday.

The ambitious plan will be implemented by a joint venture with central PSU NLC India and another by taking a loan from the Asian Development Bank ADB. State-owned Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd APDCL joined with NLC India to create 1,000 MW of solar power at an investment of Rs 5,500 crore.

An agreement was signed between the two firms in presence of the Union Minister for Coal Pralhad Joshi and Sarma to establish the project and float a joint venture company.

We are ready to start the work with the signing of the MoU. The total project cost will be around Rs 5,500 crore depending on the engineering, procurement and construction EPC bids, NLC India chairman and MD Rakesh Kumar said.

He said the project will start generating power in two-three pockets of the state over the next two-and-a-half years.

The land is already available and tender documents are ready to go. The project will generate 1,500 million units, and the goal is to produce 35,000 million units in 25 years, said the CMD of NLCI, formerly Neyveli Lignite Corporation.

Around 2,000 people will be employed at the construction stage of the project and will generate 1,000 jobs during the operational stage, according to Kumar.

Sarma said that the two firms have formed a JV in which APDCL will hold 49 per cent of the stake and 51 per cent will be with NLCI.

He said that Assam will get investment of another Rs 4,000 crore in solar plants to produce 1,000 MW of power.

This is a central government initiative and we have got approval for the ADB loan in-principle. This will be fully implemented by APDCL. Assam will have a total of around 10,000 crore invested in the country to produce 2,000 MW of renewable energy, Sarma said.

He said that around 2,000 MW of power is produced in Assam considering all state, central and private units, including about 200 MW of renewable power.

The chief minister stated that Assam had a peak hour demand of 800 -- 900 MW before the COVID-19 epidemic, highlighting rising economic activities in the state.

This has now reached 2,400 MW. With the expansion of NRL's refinery and other activities, investments to the tune of Rs 92,000 crore are in the pipeline and this will require an additional 1,000 MW of power in the next two years, he said.

Sarma said that Assam's Gross State Domestic Product GSDP will cross Rs 5,00, 000 crore for the first time and budgetary expenditure will reach Rs 1,00, 000 crore in the next financial year.

There is a need for 1,000 -- 500 MW of solid power because of rising economic activities. He said that NLCI had asked to set up a 1,000 MW thermal power plant of 1,000 MW catering to the demands of only Assam.

Joshi said that the central government is looking at producing 500 GW of power by 2030 and is focused on renewable energy.

The coal requirement of India will remain for another 50 years, it can't be stopped overnight. Our thermal coal import is likely to be stopped next year due to rising coal production. He added that domestic production will touch 900 MT this year.

NLCI also donated Rs 5 crore to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund for the recent devastating flood in Assam.