Make our ecological hot-spots a demo case for renewables

Readers will be pleased to know that Neyveli Lignite Corporation, or NLC India, has issued tenders for a solar generation and storage facility in the Andamans. What may be a little dissapointing is that we are still at the tender stage, and that this stage has also been necessitated by scrapping of the previous tender, won by Mahindra Susten, without assigning specific reasons.

The reworked tender is now for a 2×10 MW grid-connected solar power project along with an installed storage capacity of 8 MWh with half-hour backup battery energy storage system. The scrapped tender had projected a 28 MW capacity.

The fact is, that for all the optics around our commitment to renewable energy, especially at a time when the India backed International Solar Allliance is meeting in New Delhi, the lack of progress in bringing in the best of renewables to the Andamans is glaring.

For the record, to name just two popular tourist hotspots in India, Leh in Ladakh, and the Andamans, both get their power almost exclusively from diesel gensets. While their strategic location, heavy military presence and remoteness has obviously played a role in keeping these places off the grid, on the other hand, with the special situations here, one would have thought these were also the best places to actually showcase our abilities in the field. Be it tie-ups with regular firms or start-ups, both these tourist and ecological hotspots deserve much better and faster when it comes to the quality and origin of their energy needs.

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