Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is planning to set up a company for producing power from renewable sources. The company will be 100% owned by the government and will be generating power from solar, geothermal, wind, biofuel and biomass. Till date, NTPC Limited (NTPC) and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited (NHPC) are the only public sector companies engaged primarily into coal and hydro power generation, respectively.

“The ministry is examining the possibility of setting up a PSU in the renewable energy sector. There are public sector companies such as NTPC and NHPC that are stepping on to renewable power generation. We, therefore, would like to evaluate the proposal,” MNRE secretary Deepak Gupta said.

MNRE has promoted Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (Ireda), which focuses on funding renewable energy initiatives.

The Standing Committee on Energy and Committee on Public Sector Undertaking has endorsed the proposal. “It suggested that a separate PSU would bring more focus to the capital-intensive renewable sector and support the industry in a big way. A PSU would act as a catalyst and provide leadership role in exploring renewable energy sources and set up power plants,” a government official said.

Renewable energy is definitely a focus area for the government as the country needs to tackle climate change while placing a greater emphasis on continued economic growth. As we have set no target for the reduction on greenhouse gas emissions, we must reduce reliance on fossil fuels and rather use renewable energy sources for generating power and other economic activities, the official said.

The official continued that “One has to keep in mind that power generated from renewable sources is costly in comparison to the power generated by PSUs in other sectors. Also, till now, it has been pushed through private investment. A proposal to put in public money in such an affair has to be examined before we step into it.

The gross installed capacity of grid-interactive renewable power in India is expected at 11,273 MW, which accounts for 8% of the total installed generation capacity in the country. While total power capacity is expected at 2,00,000 MW by the end of the 11th Plan, the government has set a target of 24,000 MW to come from renewable energy.