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24x7 power: World Bank offers Government a Plan
Oct 22, 2014

The World Bank has submitted a detailed action plan that could help the government meet its objective of supplying power 24x7 in the country, with focus on bringing down distribution losses, improving infrastructure and expanding solar power. The proposal includes a state-wise turnaround plan for the key seven or eight states that together account for about 80 percent of the $20 billion (Rs 1.2 lakh crore) annual power distribution losses.

Bank has identified Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and the 6 north-eastern states of Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland for the 24x7 plan with 6 ultra-mega solar power projects (in excess of 500 MW) and large-scale decentralised rooftop solar projects of 100 MW.

The Bank will help the states undertake the required, difficult turnaround actions and will evaluate and implement state-specific programmes by providing long-term rupee bonds or credit enhancement products. For Delhi, the Bank will help by partnering with the state transmission utility, Delhi Transco, and address transmission bottlenecks caused by years of underinvestment in the network.

The Bank’s plan also talks of setting up large-scale 100 MW rooftop solar projects. The solar rooftop policy was rolled out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was Gujarat chief minister. Solar panels were set up on the roofs of houses and institutions, and connected to a smart grid to supply clean electricity.

The Bank also mentions a long-term partnership with state-owned Solar Energy Corporation of India, to set up ultra-mega solar power plants. A 750-MW project in Madhya Pradesh would be followed by five solar parks of 500 MW and above in Gujarat, MP, Telangana, Andhra and Karnataka.

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim had met Narendra Modi in July, when 24x7 power for all was identified as priority area.

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