Power Minister Piyush Goyal has taken up the challenge to rapidly make Varanasi a 100 per cent clean energy city to steal a march on Germany’s Munich. The German city is scheduled to flaunt the tag by 2025. “Noting Munich’s aim to become 100 per cent renewable energy powered city by 2025, Goyal threw a challenge to make Varanasi 100 per cent renewable energy powered before 2025 and beat Munich,” stated Power Ministry in a statement on Goyal’s recent four-day visit to Berlin, Leipzig and Munich till June 1, 2017.
It further said, “In this way, the World’s oldest city (Varanasi) can also become the first major city to be powered fully by clean energy. The Minister instructed officials to start working on this including the storage and distribution infrastructure required for the same.”
Several development works are on in Varanasi, which is the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where renewable energy is being promoted in a big way. At present, India does not have any city or town which is 100 per cent energised by renewables and Varanasi would be the first such city in the country.
India has set an ambitious target of having 175GW of renewable energy from sources like solar, wind, small hydro and bio mass. Earlier last month, lower equipment and borrowing costs had pulled down the solar power tariff to all-time low of Rs 2.44 per unit in the auction conducted for Bhadla solar park.
Similarly, under the wind power auction for 1GW earlier this year, the tariff dipped to Rs 3.46 per unit. The new rates of solar power discovered in the auctions are even below the average rate of coal-based power produced by state-run NTPC at Rs 3.30 per unit.
During the visit, the Minister apprised the German side how India’s tremendous success in auctions to ensure affordable renewable energy can also be adopted in Germany which is moving away from Feed In Tariffs (FITs).
Given the global presence of German Development Agency GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) in over 130 countries, Goyal has proposed a partnership with state-run EESL, which can help India leapfrog and distribute energy efficiency products across the globe.
The Minister also explored areas like potential availability of good technical assets in stressed solar companies in Germany, long term funding, grid balancing, electric vehicles development, off grid systems, green energy corridors and long term funding.