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Maha pushes for green energy on spinning mills’ surplus land
The state government is seeing surplus land available with spinning cooperatives spread throughout Maharasthra as a potential source for developing renewable energy plants. On Friday a government resolution (GR) was issued which called for setting up a green energy cell in the textile department, under the ministry of cooperatives. According to estimates drawn by the department, all 59 spinning cooperatives in the state can set up green energy plants with a total capacity of 321.71MW. The estimates have been drawn by taking into account land available with the cooperatives and their current electricity consumption.
If all the cooperatives instal a power plant, the subsidy outflow from the state’s side comes at Rs 300 crore. Spinning mills too are keen to sell their land to get much-needed cash for revival.The green cell to be based in the city will be headed by director, textiles. It would examine proposals by spinning mills for setting up power plants and forward the cases for subsidy entitlement from state government side.
The cooperative spinning mills are sitting on huge unused land. A policy is being worked to allow the cooperatives to sell off the excess land if they give an undertaking to set up a green energy plant on the remaining area. There are 59 spinning cooperatives in the state and the surplus land with these stands at over 1,200 acre in all. In Vidarbha, there are close to a dozen cooperatives having excess land to the tune of 177 acre.
The cooperatives had purchased huge tracts of land at the time of formation, even though not more than 15 acre of area is required for a spinning mill. Now, as majority of the mills are in losses, the management is keen to sell off the land for modernization.
The state government, as a majority shareholder in the cooperatives, is planning to put in a condition that part of the proceeds of sale of land should be invested in renewable energy plant. Even this is being pushed as a modernization initiative. As one-time investment, the move would ultimately save considerably on the power cost, said a source.
During a recent exercise, data related to power consumed by the cooperatives, land in use and surplus area available was collected. While calculating the surplus land, the area required for setting up the power plant was set aside. Even the space available for rooftop plants has been calculated.
It was found during the excise that spinning mills consume power ranging from 50,000 units to even three crore units in a given year. This can be replaced with green energy plants with a capacity from 1MW to 23MW.
Meanwhile, the GR issued on Friday says the cooperatives will get technical help from IITs, IIMs, SASMIRA, WRA, CITRA and other reputed organizations to set up the power plants. The renewable development cell constituted under the chairmanship of director, textile, will meet once in a month to examine the proposals. The cell may invite experts in the field of solar and wind energy for their opinion. The committee will present the proposals passed in this meeting to the state government.
The five-member committee has director (sericulture), managing director of Handloom Corporation, a representative from MEDA and representative from Wool Research Institute as members.