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COVID-19: Renewable industry gives thumbs up to MNRE notification on free passage of material, staff
Renewable energy (RE) players have given a thumbs up to the latest notification by the ministry of new and renewable energy asking states to allow movement of material and staff to ensure continuous renewable power generation following the nationwide lockdown. “While it is important for us to keep pace with the economic activity including the construction of renewable energy projects, it is probably more important at this stage to understand the full impact of the COVID-19 virus impact across the country over the coming few weeks,” said Sanjeev Aggarwal, founder and chief executive officer, Amplus Solar. He added that right now it was important to keep people safe, except to engage them for very important activities and that is where the government is currently focused on. He said that the rest of the activities can pick up over the coming weeks as the benefits of the current lockdown become more visible. The ministry in the notification on Thursday addressed to the concerned authorities of all states said, “Power generation, including renewable power generation, is an essential service for securing smooth and uninterrupted power flow across and within states.” According to Pinaki Bhattacharyya, co-founder and CEO, Amp Energy India, this would help ensure smooth and uninterrupted supply of renewable power across the country since renewable energy is not dependent on fuel and transportation for its operation and can run in all situations unlike conventional power plants. In the current scenario of COVID-19 outbreak nationwide lockdown announced by PM, there would be a need to ensure uninterrupted power generation including generation from renewable energy power plants, the notification added. Besides allowing permission for staff, vehicles and associated workforce to move around, the ministry also asked states for a waiver under Section 144, nationwide lockdown, curfew or any other limitation on a number of people to gather in locations like sites, substations, transmission lines and towers etc. and other related locations where it may be required for operation and maintenance activities of renewable power generation and associated equipment. MNRE had issued a notification last week that said that the outbreak would be covered under the force majeure clause.