Moving towards commercialisation
With the resource crunch persisting, won't you find it difficult to raise funds for the revised target of 2,000 mw for power generation from non-conventional energy in the Eighth Plan ?
Funds will be mobilised through private sector investments, loans from financial institutions and assistance from international agencies in addition to budgetary support.
To channelise assistance from World Bank, Global Environment Facility (GEF), and other bilateral assistance, a separate credit line has been established within the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA). Four states have already instituted incentive schemes, such as a tax holiday, for private sector participation.
Have you found any level of interest among international aid agencies toward funding renewable energy development in India?
International agencies are focussing on environmentally benign technologies. The GEF has resources of upto one billion dollars to support energy technology development and applications that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Several Western countries also support such projects to promote global environment protection.
Would your ministry continue with the same approach or is there a possibility it will change in the effective monitoring of the renewable energy programme?
For various extension and demonstration programmes, a three-tier monitoring system -- through state nodal agencies, field inspection by ministry officials, and independent agencies -- has been set up.
Constant monitoring has brought about improvements in design of different systems and devices as well as changes in implementation. Necessary training and financial inputs have been provided to various programmes for repair and maintenance.
Can you ensure a more productive and efficient use of subsidies?
The extension programmes are being structured to move towards commercialisation and extent of financial assistance in the form of subsidy is being gradually tapered off.
As the user's contribution is being increased, better quality will be ensured. The introduction of ISI standards will also lead to an improvement in quality.
What is your ministry doing precisely to improve the performance of the state nodal agencies, which seem to be the weak links in the non-conventional energy programmes ?
A multi-agency and multi-client approach is being developed for effective implementation and performance improvement of various non-conventional energy programmes.
What sort of signal is the government sending to industry through the new budgeting for R&D in the renewable energy sector?
Creation of a competitive environment is of great importance to the future of renewable energy. R&D in this sector will continue to be supported. However, a new orientation will be needed in which industry will have to play a major role in R&D. The amorphous silicon programme and the support to BHEL for wind electric generator will continue with the proviso that quick commercialisation is ensured.