Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious plan to give a push to renewable energy by bundling costlier solar power with cheap electricity produced in old thermal plants has failed to take off. After several States, now even Delhi has refused to give its consent to the proposal fearing it would result in higher power tariffs in the city.
In a letter to NTPC Limited, the Delhi government has rejected to buy electricity bundled with solar power saying that “it would lead to increase in cost for end consumers.”Following the PM’s model, NTPC had written to six States, including Delhi, which procure power from the old Singrauli thermal power station. Delhi’s share from the Singrauli plant is about 400-500 MW which is bought by the distribution companies at Rs 1.80 per unit. Bundling 3,000 MW of solar power with the power procured from this plant will push the cost to Rs. 3.12 per unit, Delhi government officials said. The letter written to the electricity generating giant by Principal Secretary (Power) Sukesh Jain questions the NTPC’s proposal to bundle solar power with just one plant and not other ageing plants like Badarpur, Rihand-I, Unchaar-I, Farakka Unit-I, Talcher Stage-I and so on that have lived the useful life of 25 years.“However, if NTPC insists on such bundling and vintage is the criteria for bundling, then Badarpur Thermal Power Station is of much older age, commissioned between 1973 and 1981, while Singrauli Power Station was commissioned between 1982 and 1987. It is, therefore, suggested that instead of Singrauli Power Station, 3,000 MW solar power be bundled with Badarpur Thermal Power Station first subject to the concurrence of States having allocation of power from this plant,” read the letter.