The Union government plans to make Ladakh the first Indian union territory (UT) to run completely on renewable energy. The newly carved out union territory has already about 30 mega-watt (MW) of small hydro projects and the government wants to install solar generation units to meet all its power demand from renewable energy sources. Ladakh was made an independent union territory after the government recently revoked the Article 370.
Aanand Kumar, secretary, ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), told FE that the UT currently has a demand of around 53 MW and new solar plants is planned to be added by the end of 2020 to make the area completely run on renewable energy. “The idea is to reduce the heavy dependence of diesel in the area.” Kumar added.
While the daily solar power generation potential in most part of the country is in the range of 3-5 units per square metre, the same in Leh-Ladakh can be 6-8 units, thanks to high ‘irradiance’ factor. Additionally, the impediments of land availability and acquisition is also much lower. “Tentatively, the projects would be set up in Leh’s Pang region and Zangla in Kargil,” another senior government said on conditions of anonymity. Sunshine is available for about 300 days in a year and clear skies result in very high value of solar radiation, resulting in high plant load factor for the solar power stations located in the place.
The government is targetting to achieve 4,50,000 MW of renewable energy capacity, as announced recently by the Prime Minister the United Nations General Assembly in New York. This target is expected to be achieved by 2030. Before that, the government is currently working to meet the deadline for installing 175 GW of renewable energy is December 31, 2022. The installed renewable capacity now stands at 82.6 GW.