Govt Planning to Convert 60 Cities
into Solar Townships
Apr 21, 2008 -Times of India - energycentral.com
Taking a cue from European and American
cities, the government is aiming to convert 60 cities
into solar townships that run partially on renewable
Under the 11th Five Year Plan, the ministry for
new and renewable energy has been tasked with identifying
60 such cities with populations ranging from 5 lakh
to 50 lakh that will draw up an energy master plan
for their future growth and show how they shall either
cut power consumption by at least 10% or shift as
much as possible to renewable energy sources.
While the government's focus till now has been to
use renewables in remote villages that are not connected
to the power grid, this is its first venture for
cities, which it also hopes will generate an "image
makeover" for renewables.
"Over the years, renewable energy has been
looked upon as a downmarket and less reliable option
for the villages. But just as Europe and America
are shifting cities which consume high energy to
renewable sources, we too want to do that," a
senior ministry official said.
The demand in some cities is seen to be rising by
more than 15% annually and this plan hopes to capture
the growing cities at the right time and push them
towards some level of self-sufficiency in power needs.
Under the scheme, the ministry will provide a soft
grant to municipalities of the chosen cities to draw
up a master plan looking at current use of power
and projected growth over 10 years.
While the scheme is meant for cities with population
ranging from 5-50 lakh, relaxation could be made
for special regions like north- eastern states. The
ministry, besides providing funds, will also help
with technical support to these municipalities to
see where they can cut power consumption and move
towards more benign renewable forms of energy.
The seed money of up to Rs 1 crore that the ministry
will provide for planning will be supplemented by
larger funding available from sources like the Planning
Commission for the JNNURM programme or the Bureau
of Energy Efficiency's (BEE) various schemes or the
ministry itself for actual implementation.
Also, a green venture fund is in the pipeline and
this will allow BEE to help the municipalities take
city-wide action, like changing street lights and
reworking existing buildings to more efficient designs
in order to reduce power consumption.
"Municipalities, besides funding, also face
a problem in finding the right technical support
for such ventures. The government shall not only
provide the grants but hand-hold them through private
participants or directly in first devising their
plans under this scheme and then provide them further
funds and expertise to implement the plan," the
The 60 selected cities could also get the early
bird advantage of earning carbon credits for shifting
energy sources for street lights for which BEE is
also working out a model plan.