Techno neutral Policy: New RE Policy 2017 has finally found a place in the sun

The newly released renewable energy policy for Bihar has definitely raised the standards of RE policies in the country. This policy has been under revision for the last 2 years after the country’s national targets were set to achieve an ambitious 175 GW by 2022. The new policy aims at putting an ambitious 3433 MW of renewable energy power in the grid by 2022 from its present capacity of 204 MW.

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As the old saying goes “make hay while the sun shines”, Bihar’s new policy has taken well into account the local availability of resources and its respective demand from the consumers. The policy has given due diligence to the large agricultural based population by boosting the biomass & bagasse based power generation by setting a target of 244 MW by 2022. The guideline for implementing these targets will be in place within next year. This is definitely a boon to the farmer folks of the state considering regularized logistics are in place in the near future. The farmers shall be cutting down their cost on diesel, since over 10,000 solar pumps are planned to be installed to make the farmers more energy self sufficient.

Solar is definitely the big winner here with 2969 MW allocated to it. The new policy has due provisions for both net-metering and gross-metering regulations for the different types of consumers. This definitely takes away the complexity for the DISCOMs; since now, the consumer based on the type of load can be segregated. Also keeping up with the global trend, the policy also has put in place provisions for solar parks, canal projects and floating solar parks.

As many in and from Bihar would agree, 24/7 electricity has always been a distant reality for people living outside of Patna. This had resulted people opting for alternate modes like battery storage, decentralized systems and mini grids to have some basic energy access in the remote townships and villages. Under the new policy, this has been regularised and recognized as alternative options for energy.

Besides providing energy access, the mini grids also help in stimulating local employment opportunities. The small hydro sector also gets a boost with a cumulative target of 220 MW from various small-/mico-/mini projects.

To summarize, the policy has put Bihar in the spotlight of renewable energy investments and will hopefully pull Bihar out from its dark days.

Shaibal Gupta is the Member-Secretary, Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI).