To make cold desert carbon-neutral, the Union Government is working towards installation of 10,000 Mega Watts (MW) hybrid renewable power projects in the Union Territory of Ladakh and different agencies are in the process of identifying suitable land and preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) for necessary transmission infrastructure.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that as per the various assessments done till date, Ladakh has a potential of 30 Giga Watts of solar, 5 Giga Watts of wind, 2 Giga Watts of hydro and 300 Mega Watts of geothermal potential and Government of India wants to tap this potential in phased manner in order to make the newly created Union Territory carbon-neutral just as the nation’s Sikkim has made its mark as an organic State in the North-East.
“The renewable energy can play an important role in achieving this goal as Ladakh Union Territory enjoys high solar irradiance and hydel potential”, they further said, adding “Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is working in this regard especially in the light of the announcement made by the Prime Minister last year”.
The Prime Minister had said: “Ladakh has several specialities. Not only do we have to preserve them, we have to nurture them as well. As Sikkim has made it mark as an organic state in the North-East, Ladakh can also create own niche as a carbon-neutral Union Territory”.
The announcement regarding installation of 10,000 MW hybrid renewable energy projects in the Union Territory of Ladakh was also made by the Union Power Minister R K Singh in the ongoing session of the Parliament.
“The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and Ladakh UT administration are identifying land for the projects while as the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) is preparing the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the necessary transmission infrastructure”, sources said, adding “these agencies and administration of Ladakh UT have been explicitly told by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to complete this exercise as early as possible”.
Even Vision Document prepared by the Union Territory of Ladakh lays much thrust on harnessing the immense potential of renewable energy and system planning for transmission and evacuation infrastructure to support potential growth in installed capacity.
“The tapping of immense renewable energy potential will make Ladakh only area in the country to have 100% clean energy and also become major source of revenue generation for the newly created Union Territory”, sources said.
About other solar power projects, they disclosed that Power Purchase Agreements have been signed by the Solar Energy Corporation of India for one Mega Watt solar power project with 2 MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) each at Siachan Base Camp and at Partapur in UT of Ladakh.
Moreover, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has approved the scheme for setting up of 20 Mega Watt solar power project with 50 MWh BESS at Phyang Leh and one Mega Watt hybrid renewable energy power project with 1 MWh BESS at Nyoma in Leh through Solar Energy Corporation of India, sources said while disclosing that for Phyang project the SECI has already issued a tender and the last date for submission of bids is February 10, 2021.
“The latest announcement of the Union Power Minister regarding 10,000 Mega Watts hybrid renewable power projects in UT of Ladakh has allayed the apprehensions which were expressed in different quarters regarding non-serious approach towards tapping the solar power potential”, sources said.
The apprehensions were expressed soon after the Solar Energy Corporation of India terminated two years long process for making selection of developers for 7500 Mega Watts of solar power projects in Leh and Kargil districts which were announced several years back.
“The process was terminated keeping in view poor response to the Request for Selection but Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has worked out certain options so as to give practical shape to its decision of installation of 10,000 MW hybrid renewable power projects in Ladakh UT”, sources said.