Agartala: The Northeast, according to an official study, has a renewable energy potential estimated at 1,28,962 MW, but barring Assam, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh, the region has barely tapped this vast natural resource. Official documents revealed that of the 1,28,962 MW renewable energy potential, around 82,500 MW of solar power and around 525 MW of wind power can be generated from the eight northeastern states including Sikkim.
Green Oscar awardee solar scientist Santi Pada Gonchaudhuri said that the northeastern states have a huge potential to generate a large quantum of renewable energy, specially solar energy.
“The states in the region must formulate appropriate and viable solar power projects as the Central government is keen to provide funds for such projects. Through solar power plants huge employment generation is also possible while various other sectors including pisciculture, agriculture and horticulture can flourish,” Gonchaudhuri told IANS.
The Tripura government has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the renewal energy division of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for setting up a 130 MW floating solar power plant with an investment of Rs 700 crore in Dumbur lake in southern Tripura.
A feasibility survey was recently conducted to study the possibility of establishing the solar power plant.
A top official of the Tripura power department, however, told IANS that there is some uncertainty about the commissioning of the 130 MW floating solar power plant.
The North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), a mini-ratna company under the Union Power Ministry, a few years ago had commissioned a five-MW solar power plant at Monarchak in Sepahijala district and this was the biggest and the first of its kind in northeast India. NEEPCO officials said that the solar power plant, which was commissioned at a cost of Rs 40 crore, was now running successfully and the entire power from the plant was being transmitted to the Tripura power grid.
NEEPCO had set up a gas based 101 MW capacity power plant in Monarchak, 70 km south of Tripura capital Agartala and just eight km from the Bangladesh border.
In the same complex, the five MW solar power plant was set up.
The Tripura Renewable Energy Development Agency (TREDA) has installed 30,000 solar street lighting systems under various schemes of the government.
TREDA officials said that the agency is working to provide electricity by setting up solar micro grid projects to the old and remote tribal villages/neighborhoods of Tripura where conventional electricity has not been reached or is not reliable. Already a large number of such villages/hamlets have been electrified and the villagers are benefitted educationally and financially by using electrical appliances like lights, TV, mobiles, Internet etc.
For generation of electricity through solar with backup facilities, TREDA has taken the initiative to install off-grid solar power plants at various primary health centres, block development offices, hostels, security camps, panchayat offices and fishery centres in Tripura under various schemes of the state government for reliable power supply. (IANS)