Here’s How The 2020 Central Budget Will Boost India’s Renewable Energy Sector

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The 2020 central budget gave sustainable energy a major boost. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has received a 48% higher budget allocation compared to last time.

To boost this sector, in her budget speech, Finance Minister (FM) Nirmala Sitaraman announced Rs 22000 cr for the power and renewable energy sector.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman announcing the 2020 central budget.

To provide electricity to every household, the minister intends to promote smart metering. She also urged all the state governments to replace conventional meters with pre-paid smart meters, in the next three years.

This can reduce the burden of Discoms as well, as it will provide an opportunity for consumers to select the rate and the supplier too.

To emphasise the oil and gas sector, the open acreage license policy (OALP) has been awarded 1.37 lakh sq/km for exploration to the private sector and Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs). 

Additionally, a proposal for expansion of the National gas grid from 16,200 km to 27,000 km was announced.

The FM also said, that very soon, there will be a policy to allow private players to build data centre parks in India.

Solar Power Capacity Alongside Railways

To reduce the dependence upon conventional power plants, the government plans to increase solar power capacity.

Apart from stressing solar power for agriculture, through the Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) scheme, solar power for the railways was also emphasised.

Nirmala Sitaraman announced that the government is considering setting up solar power capacity alongside railway tracks.

With the demand of 12 billion units of electricity and an increase of 5% power demand in the Indian Railways, the government is planning to generate, and fulfil 10% of its power demands, through solar power.

India has the largest network of railways in the world (around 1.25000km).

India has the largest network of railways in the world (around 1.25000km) and is also the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the USA and China.

This makes the country very vulnerable to climate change. And to handle this, the Indian Railways has planned to become a net-zero carbon emitter.

According to this KGMG report, increased budget allocation to MNRE will help the success of various initiatives, like solar rooftops, off-grid renewable energy and solar parks.

Setting up a large solar capacity alongside railway tracks can help the Railways add about 18-20 GW capacity, by utilising land owned by the Indian Railways, and reducing their power acquisition cost.

If all these proposals are implemented properly, then it will prove to be a boon for the country’s renewable sector and will help the Discoms, consumers, economy, and environment.

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