Renewables policy buzz as government document leaks

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Wind circles are buzzing over what might be written in an elusive and unreleased renewable energy policy statement that is destined to become India's first Renewable Energy Act. The expected highlight is a requirement for at least 10% of additional capacity from renewables. "It is important to establish how we will create demand and ensure that state electricity boards seek the [required] amount of renewables," stresses Ajay Mathur of the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI). "We hope it will be sourced competitively. By 2007, we are confident wind can compete with thermal energy." The master architect of the proposal, Ajit Gupta of the Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources, has hinted at linking independent power projects to larger projects and then giving them a separate grid clearance -- as is done for conventional power projects over 1000 MW. For this, a public sector entity may be established to develop the infrastructure for large wind projects. Furthermore, a board for overseeing quality assurance of renewables projects is expected. Some have complained that wind power should not be driven by manufacturers, but by a "viable body" in India. The policy statement was put before a working committee last month. Once cleared, a proposal will be presented to parliament. While sceptics expect it to take more than a year to pass, optimists say it will be cleared within a month.

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