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Revitalising PM-KUSUM

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September 28, 2021

What is the issue?

The pandemic-induced disruptions, limited buy-in from States and implementation challenges have affected the roll-out of Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM).

What is KUSUM about?

  • KUSUM was launched by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in 2019 to provide energy sufficiency and sustainable irrigation access to farmers.
  • Objective - Providing financial and water security to farmers.
  • The components of the proposed scheme are
  1. Component-A: 10,000 MW of Decentralized Ground Mounted Grid Connected Renewable Power Plants.
  2. Component-B: Installation of 17.50 lakh standalone Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps.
  3. Component-C: Solarisation of 10 Lakh Grid-connected Solar Powered Agriculture Pumps.

To know more about KUSUM scheme, click here

What are the barriers in effective implementation of the scheme?

  • Limited awareness about solar pumps among farmers.
  • Farmers’ inability to pay their upfront contribution.
  • Regulatory, financial, operational and technical challenges.
  • Non-initiation of tenders or commissioned projects for solar feeders or grid-connected pumps by some states.
  • Covid induced disruptions.

How can the challenges be tackled?

  • Extending the scheme’s timeline beyond 2022 would allow discoms to align the scheme with their power purchase planning.
  • Create a level playing field for distributed solar plants in par with utility-scale solar which is cheaper and most preferred by discoms.
  • Grid-unavailability risks needs to be addressed and tariff determination should be standardised with the removal of waiver of ISTS charges for solar plants.
  • Land regulations must be streamlined through inter-departmental coordination reduce delays in converting agricultural lands for solar power generation.
  • Innovative solutions like Karnataka’s pilot of a farmer-developer special-purpose vehicle are needed for financing farmers’ contributions.
  • Piloting grid-connected solar pumps along with smart meters and smart transformers will be useful for scaling up the scheme.
  • The scheme, if implemented successfully, can generate thousands of jobs, reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture, and result in oil import savings.

 

Source: The Hindu

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