Maharashtra moots SEZs for wind energy farms

The state has already decided to have a single window system for land acquisition process for wind farm purpose and is working on an incentive package to make it attractive to establish wind turbines projects across a vast land mass, according to Ganesh Naik, Maharashtra minister for new and renewable energy.

"I am toying with the concept of having SEZs for wind energy farms across the state where players from this segment will be encouraged to set up projects and supply power to the grid," he told Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA)’ in an interview, published by MEDA in its official periodical "Future Energy" here.

The idea behind the proposal was to facilitate continuous, affordable power for small farmers to enhance productivity, Naik said.

"Since wind farms require vast land mass, I will explore the possibilities of ensuring that this acquisition process does not become an impediment to the implementation of the projects. I have already decided to have single window system for the land process and the ministry is working on schemes and various concession models as part of the incentive package which would include enhanced purchase rates and other sops and make it attractive to establish projects in Maharashtra."

The minister said he was also exploring the "viability and efficacy" of solar farms to find out whether the commercial and non-commercial segments could be integrated.

"I am proposing to the cabinet a plan for investment in renewable energy particularly solar, wherein the costs are incurred by the administration and the farmers will get power free," Naik has been quoted as saying in the interview to MEDA, a Government of Maharashtra undertaking for promotion of renewable energy.

"I am also proposing to persuade the municipal corporations across the state to include the concept of solar cities in their development plans in their city limits to contribute in conservation of energy by using alternative sources," he said.

On the tidal energy front, the minister said the state had an extensive coastline which offered an ideal opportunity to generate power from this source.

He, however, noted that exploring tidal energy would involve huge capital investments and not much ground work had been done to upgrade the technology in this sphere.