Solar energy more cost-effective than thermal power


 The state will become self-sufficient in power by 2013, said minister for energy and higher education Jitendra Singh. He was speaking at the inaugural of two-day state-level conference on Power and Energy Systems-2011 at Rajasthan Technical University on Saturday. "Our daily power requirement is 1,300 lakh unit against a generation of 1,150 lakh unit," said the minister.

The Union government's Jawahar Solar Mission scheme will help generate 1,000 MW of electricity from solar energy and it will end power-cut in the state. In this project, the state will generate upto 1,500 MW in 2013, 3,000 MW in 2017 and 20,000 MW in 2020.

Talking about the potential of solar energy in state, he said: "A 100 sq km of land in Jaisalmer can produce one lakh MW of power in 320 sunny days." He said that there are latest technology in which solar energy can be transmitted to grid via satellite. Harnessing power from solar energy is much more cost-effective than thermal power. Generating 500 MW of solar energy requires Rs 15 to 16 crore against over Rs 30 crore from thermal energy. The minister also said that super-critical power plants will come up in Suratgarh, Chhabra and Banswara. It will bring significant improvement in the power scenario and act as a boost for industrialisation in state.

He urged the need to explore new avenues for harnessing energy as consumption will continue to rise in future. His views were echoed by vice-chancellor of RTU, RP Yadav who said, "Solar energy is gaining importance, hence more fundamental research is needed to meet the growing needs of power."

The minister has recently met Union minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh who assured him of granting environment clearance to mines on top priority. The state energy department has its own coal mines to meet requirements of thermal power plants. He also said that the state is offering cheapest power in India. Of 85 lakhs consumers, 55 lakhs are getting subsidised power. Farmers are getting power at Rs 0.90 per unit while BPL families at Rs 1.20 per unit.

The second day of conference will saw a series of paper presentations on power generations in state. It will conclude on Sunday.

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