Environmental News from India:
- Jharkhand has one of the lowest installed capacities of renewable energy in eastern India, with 97 Megawatt of clean energy production capacity.
- The government, in a 2015 policy document, had aimed for 2,650 MW of solar energy by 2020. So far, it has not met even half this target. In the latest state Solar Policy of 2022, the state government has revised the target to be 4,000 MW of installed capacity of solar energy in the next five years.
- Lack of large scale private investments, shortage of available land for clean energy projects and other reasons have limited the growth of clean energy in Jharkhand compared to other states.
- The state has now also planned a 100 MW floating solar plant and 80 MW solar park and revised its solar policy to increase the production of clean energy in the state.
Sitaram Oraon, a tribal farmer in the Ghagara block of Gumla district in Jharkhand, grows watermelon, potato, and other crops on his farm. He uses solar-powered energy to irrigate his land, a shift from the diesel and kerosene-run water pump that he used a few years ago.
Besides the polluting emissions of using diesel and kerosene, the uncertainty of availability and transporting them regularly from the market posed as challenges. Oraon started using a solar-operated pump around four years ago. “Now we are getting the power to run our water pumps round the year, and there is no emission too. Even the operating charges have reduced by around 30 percent,” Oraon told Mongabay-India from his farm, covered with the green leaves of watermelon plants. The farm is located close to the road that connects his village to the state capital of Ranchi.
In Ranchi, around 100 kilometers from the farms of Gumla, is Raj Bhavan, the official house of the governor, which is also powered by solar energy. Last year, the Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA) installed a 70-kilowatt solar rooftop plant at the government building.
These are two of the many examples of solar energy being used in Jharkhand. Despite these instances, penetration of renewable energy across the state remains low as Jharkhand is gradually transitioning from coal-based thermal power to cleaner sources of energy. According to latest data from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), up to March 31 this year, Jharkhand has a total of 97.14 Megawatt of installed capacity of power from renewable energy sources (RES), which makes up 3.5 percent of the 2734.64 Megawatt of installed capacity of power utilities in the state. Moreover, in the eastern Indian region, Jharkhand has the lowest installed capacity of renewable energy after Sikkim. Neighboring states in the region, such as West Bengal (586.95 MW), Bihar (387.35 MW), and Odisha (617.09 MW), fare better.
The state, in its 2015 State Solar Policy, had targeted to achieve a total of 2,650 Megawatt of solar energy by the end of 2020. However, even in 2022, the state has failed to achieve even half of its target. In the latest State Solar Policy of 2022, the government revised the rules and targeted to achieve 4,000 Megawatt of renewable energy through a new roadmap.
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