India to build solar, wind farms along Pakistan border

Published October 22, 2019
India plans to build a string of renewable energy projects along its sun-baked, wind-whipped western border, officials said on Monday, as New Delhi continues an ambitious programme to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. — APP/File
India plans to build a string of renewable energy projects along its sun-baked, wind-whipped western border, officials said on Monday, as New Delhi continues an ambitious programme to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels. — APP/File

MUMBAI: India plans to build a string of renewable energy projects along its sun-baked, wind-whipped western border, officials said on Monday, as New Delhi continues an ambitious programme to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Mired in an economic slowdown, the government has tripled spending over the last three years as part of its push to cut down the use of oil and coal.

“We are studying land feasibility and have identified projects worth 30 gigawatt capacity for Gujarat and 25 gigawatt capacity for Rajasthan,” said Anand Kumar, new and renewable energy secretary.

The government had zeroed in on barren desert areas in a bid to avoid using agricultural land, he said, adding the sunny and windy region was ideally suited to renewable energy facilities.

Work on the projects would begin roughly 18 months after approval from the defence ministry and following land feasibility studies, he said. “These projects will help reduce India’s carbon footprint and adhere to promises made at the 2015 Paris agreement,” Kumar said.

India currently harnesses 23pc of its total power from renewable sources, including solar and wind.

R.K. Singh, minister for power and renewable energy, told parliament in July that India’s capacity had crossed 80 gigawatts and was on track to reach 175 gigawatts in three years’ time, as pledged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, private investment in the renewable sector remains low, and the government has found securing land for projects difficult.

Renewable energy projects are not feasible in agricultural or forest lands, said Amit Bhandari of Mumbai-based think tank Gateway House.

“Since most of these western border areas are wastelands or semi-desert, they are perfect for setting up these projects,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2019

Opinion

Editorial

Updating the economy
22 Jan, 2022

Updating the economy

GDP rebasing doesn’t make countries or people richer; it is just about updated data for policymakers to make informed decisions.
22 Jan, 2022

Covid curbs

CONSIDERING the steep rise in Covid-19 cases in the country over the past few days, the government decided on...
22 Jan, 2022

Cricket hope

SIX Pakistan players named across three teams of the year announced by the ICC is a testament to an uplifting 2021...
Emergency rumours
21 Jan, 2022

Emergency rumours

ISLAMABAD is once again in the grip of rumours. The latest issue finding traction revolves around a mysterious...
TTP attack
Updated 21 Jan, 2022

TTP attack

MONDAY night’s assault on a police party in Islamabad, which left one cop dead and two injured, marks a ...
21 Jan, 2022

Murree suspensions

ON Wednesday, the Met Office issued a red alert for more heavy snowfall in Murree over the coming weekend, and...