Maharashtra will now focus only on renewables and is all set to “go green” by generating 17,385MW from solar projects in five years, said energy minister Nitin Raut.
His department has already announced in the recent past that there will be no new thermal generation units in Maharashtra.
As per the estimates, Maharashtra has a capacity to produce 25,000MW from solar projects, but the energy department has framed the new Renewable Energy Policy to produce 17,385MW in the next five years, Raut said.
The REP will also attract investment of Rs 75,000 crore in the power sector and other affiliated industries.
Also, the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission has set a target for the state to meet 25% of its demand from renewable sources in the next five years and therefore the government has decided to promote renewable energy only, an official said.
“Solar power will be much cheaper than thermal power, benefiting industries and agriculture (for daytime generation for farmers) across the state,” Raut said. By 2030, there are plans to produce 30% of power by solar only.
A statement issued by the energy department said: “The new REP is aimed at providing daytime power to agriculture pumps at cheaper rates. A total 5 lakh solar agriculture pumps will be installed in the state in the next five years. About 10,000 households in remote areas will get solar power.”
Sources said that presently during the pandemic, the power demand has gone down by 33% and several thermal units were lying idle. “In fact, there is a huge gap between demand and supply at this moment,” an official said. For instance, MSEDCL has signed power purchase agreements for 35,000MW of electricity for the state, but is purchasing only 14,500MW due to low demand during the pandemic.