The Cabinet has cleared amendments to the Electricity Act to bring in more reforms and increase competition. It also approved an ambitious 20,000 megawatts (MW) solar power proposal, which the government says will help India become a global leader in solar generation as the programme has no parallel in the world.
“The amendments will usher in the much-needed further reforms in the power sector (and) will also promote competition, efficiency in operations and improvement in quality of supply of electricity in the country, resulting in capacity addition and ultimate benefit to the consumers,” a brief official statement stated. It did not provide more details.
For the solar project, there would be a budgetary grant of Rs 4,050 crore for setting up 25 parks of 500 MW capacity each as well as ultra mega solar power projects by 2019.
It said projects will come up speedily as they will not have to get statutory and other clearances. It also cleared setting up of 300 MW of solar capacity by defence establishments and central police organisations using equipment built by Indian manufacturers.
“India will emerge as a major solar power producing country as nowhere in the world are solar parks being developed on such a large scale,” it said.The solar parks will be developed in collaboration with states and their agencies. Solar parks will enable development of solar power in remote areas where land is inexpensive, it said.
“As the transmission system will be developed for the entire park, developers will not have to set up their own transmission lines. This will not only save money, but will also avoid damaging the landscape of the area as only limited transmission lines would be laid,” it added.