THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In his tenth budget, Finance Minister K M Mani lamented that Kerala generated only 40 per cent of the electricity it required as he outlined the UDF government’s ambitious vision for four mega power projects. However, when it came to allocations in the energy sector, he hesitated to loosen the purse strings. Going by Mani’s budget speech, the Power Department will be focussing more on developing alternative energy sources during 2012-2013 while hydel projects are slowly taking a backseat. Only five small hydro-electric projects (SHEP) totalling 53 megawatts are planned for the coming fiscal.
The flagship project is ANERT’s ‘Solar Homes’ where 10,000 homes are to be fitted with solar panels and power supplied to the grid. Mani also promised that the energy conservation policy will be implemented during the fiscal, while LED bulbs are to be used in street lamps in panchayats and municipalities. Energy audits will be held in industries under the aegis of the Energy Management Centre.
The government will transfer Rs 524 crore to the KSEB after adjusting electricity duty for ten years from Rs 3024 crore required for transforming the power utility into a company and settling liabilities.
Mani pointed out that the power demand by 2020 would go up to 6000 MW, and the government had devised plans to generate 1050 MW using coal from the Baitharani coal block in Odisha, 1200 MW from the LNG-based power plant proposed at Cheemeni, 1200 MW from the Petronet-LNG project at Puthuvype and 1050 MW from NTPC, Kayamkulam, during the next five years.