JK’s solar energy policy flagging, fails to meet target

JK’s solar energy policy flagging, fails to meet target
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SRINAGAR: While hydro-power generation in Jammu and Kashmir has slackened, solar energy has fared even poorer for the last decade. Despite having the highest solar power potential in India, the energy-deficient state has failed to meet its solar energy targets.
As per the JK solar policy, the state had set itself the target of generating about 3,000 MW of energy by 2017. The Government of India (GoI) later revised this to only 1,100 MW. Despite the reduction, the state has generated only 1.36 MW with no addition in 2017, as per the Power Ministry GoI’s figures.
The state government has not forayed into the sector despite slackened energy growth and JK’s thirst for self-generated, cost-effective, environmentally-sustainable energy to meet its requirements. Increased availability of solar energy would reduce the state’s Rs 5,000 crore expenses and generate employment too.
As per the study conducted by the National Institute of Solar Energy, the state has a solar power potential of 111.05 GWp, the second highest in India after Rajasthan, which has a potential of 142 GWp.
As per Engaging Indian States (EIS), a knowledge portal which provides energy developments, context and analysis in India’s states, JK is the ninth state to have slagged behind in harnessing India’s solar potential. JK is even behind the neighbouring states of Punjab, which has harnessed 18 percent, and Himachal Pradesh, which has achieved 19 percent.
According to the figures gathered by the EIS, only seven states made improvement in solar generation, with Andhra Pradesh leading with 2048 Mw, followed by Gujarat (1262Mw), Karnataka (1260Mw), Madhya Pradesh(1116Mw), Rajasthan (2022), Tamil Nadu (1697), and Telangana (1609.)
Solar energy is believed to be the cheapest and most environmentally sustainable source of energy and its harnessing could do much to aid the state’s energy deficit. At present, the Jammu and Kashmir Government provides electricity mostly by purchases from various private companies despite its huge cost. In the last six years, the state, which has a 50 percent revenue generation gap, has spent over Rs 28,000 crore on power purchase.
The government has even failed to tap into the full potential of hydro power generation for the last many decades in the state. JK has the potential to generate 16,000 MW but has until now harnessed only 3,000 MW.