Although Jammu and Kashmir is having second highest solar power potential in the country, it has failed to harness even bit of the same because of least interest from all the concerned agencies, which have the mandate to tap the potential in order to make the State self sufficient in power generation that too without putting any adverse impact on the environment.
As per the study conducted by the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Jammu and Kashmir has solar power potential of 111.05 GWp, which is the second highest in the country after Rajasthan where the potential is 142.32 GWp. None of the other States in the country have the potential even up to 65 GWp.
While Rajasthan has harnessed the potential up to large extent, the Jammu and Kashmir has failed to make any headway in this regard despite the fact that State had formulated Solar Power Policy few years back with the sole objective of promoting generation of green and clean power by using solar energy, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
Keeping in view the importance of generating green and clean power by using solar energy, the Union Government a few years back had launched Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) with the objective to establish India as global leader in solar energy. Some projects were also sanctioned under this Mission for the State of Jammu and Kashmir but whether the same have seen light of the day is not known to anybody, sources further said.
Under this scheme, two major projects with the potential of generating 7500 Mega Watts of solar power were also sanctioned for Leh and Kargil districts, which have the highest potential as compared to other parts of the State, sources said while disclosing that annual average solar energy at Leh is 5530 Whr/m2/day while the estimated annual average for Kargil and Nubra is 5390 Whr/m2/day and 5300 Whr/m2 respectively because the cold deserts of Leh and Kargil have amongst the best solar radiations in the country.
Following sanctioning of these projects—5000 MWs for Leh and 2500 MWs for Kargil, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Science and Technology Ministry of J&K in the month of March 2014 and in the month of May 2014 the State Cabinet accorded sanction to the setting up of two Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects in Ladakh region, sources said while disclosing that in the month of July 2014 even a high-level Coordination Committee was also constituted to give practical shape to the projects.
“However, skepticism is still prevailing over 2 Ultra Mega Projects as pre-feasibility report is yet to be prepared to ascertain whether establishment of projects would be financially viable”, sources said, adding “moreover, there is no decision as to what would be the modus operandi to evacuate power out of the Ladakh region for consumption in other parts of the State as well as country as for the same special transmission lines are required to be laid”.
“Similarly, nobody knows whether Solar City for Leh, which was also sanctioned by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy would see light of the day as the process for preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) has yet not been initiated”, sources disclosed, adding “all the concerned authorities of the State particularly Science and Technology Department have failed to regularly follow the developments vis-à-vis these three important projects with the Union Ministry as a result of which uncertainty continues to prevail”.
What to talk of these major projects, even those small plants, which were installed through Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency, which function under the administrative control of Science and Technology Department, are lying non-functional during the past quite long time for varied reasons. “There are also a large number of plants, which got damaged during the devastating floods of September 2014 but have not been repaired till date”, sources added.
A large number of plants, which were installed on Sub-District Hospitals, Primary Health Centres and Community Health Centres besides some educational institutions in different parts of Kashmir valley have also been lying dysfunctional because of the failure of the concerned authorities of the State to take up their repairs with the concerned authorities of the Union Ministry, whose intervention is otherwise imperative to put pressure on channel partners and manufacturers.
“All this clearly indicates that J&K is not initiating steps to harness the solar power potential”, sources remarked