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Give incentives to states to embrace green energy: MPs

NEW DELHI: Amid Centre's ongoing efforts to increase the share of green energy in India's overall electricity mix, a group of MPs from different political parties requested the government to incentivize states to increase their share of 'Renewable Purchase Obligation' and introduce tax benefit instruments to mobilize low cost funds for the sector. 

The MPs on Monday also submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister 
Manmohan Singh, requesting him to bring out a roadmap for gradual replacement of kerosene and LPG with renewable energy for lighting and cooking. 

They gave their suggestions representing 
Climate Parliament - a network of parliamentarians working to promote renewable energy to combat climate change -- which is a forum of legislatures from across the globe to sensitize people and governments about importance of clean electricity like solar power and wind energy. 

Electricity Act, 2003 mandates State Electricity Regulatory Commissions across the country to set targets -- known as 
Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) -- for distribution companies to purchase certain percentage of their total power need from renewable energy sources. However, most states - except for renewable power-rich Gujarat and Rajasthan -- had miserably failed to comply with their targets. 

Seeking to end such problem, the Climate Parliament has come out with six-point recommendations which the MPs believe will help the government not only achieve its clean energy target under the 
National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) but also to promote renewable - solar and wind -- energy generation in a big way. 

Under the existing target, India is supposed to increase its share of renewable energy in the total energy mix to the extent of 15% (90,000 mw) by 2020. 

Referring to the target, the MPs -- including A K Saha of CPM, Shashi Bhusan Behera of BJD, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Sanjay Jaiswal of BJP, J D Seelam of Congress and Jayant Chaudhary of RLD - requested the PM "to immediately work towards amending the National Electricity Policy (NEP) in consultation with state governments so that the NAPCC targets are recognized under the Electricity Act, 2003". 

They also suggested that the funds for kerosene subsidy (Rs 300 billion) must be transferred to ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) for promoting and implementing the replacement scheme of fossil fuels in the long run. 

In order to mobilize low cost funds for the renewable energy sector, the Climate Parliament recommended adequate budgetary allocation for the MNRE in the coming financial year. The MPs' letter to PM said, "Lack of funding is leading to delays in more than one government programmes." 

They also recommended extending tax benefits to the renewable energy lending institutions, proposing green bonds with tax benefits under Section 10 (23G) of the Income Tax Act. "The proceeds from the green bonds should be utilized for primary financing as well as refinancing of existing project loans", the letter said.

The Times of India (30-01-2014)