Ministry of New and Renewable Energy: The PM-KUSUM initiative has really put the spotlight on farmers, boosting a scheme designed with them in mind, called the KUSUM Scheme. Over the next five years, it aims to bring decentralized solar power production up to 28,250 MW. This scheme, known as Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM), is set to bring in extra earnings for farmers by allowing them to sell surplus power to the grid. Imagine, their barren lands could soon be home to solar projects, bringing in additional income for their families.
About KUSUM Scheme
It is a ₹1.4 lakh-crore scheme for promoting decentralised solar power production of up to 28,250 MW to help farmers.
- Promote decentralised solar power production;
- Reduce transmission losses; Support the financial health of DISCOMS by reducing the burden of subsidy to the agriculture sector;
- Help States meet the RPOs (renewable purchase obligation) targets;
- Promote energy efficiency and water conservation;
- Provide water security to farmers through provision of assured water sources through solar water pumps — both off-grid and grid connected;
- Provide reliable power to utilise the irrigation potential created by State irrigation departments;
- Fill the void in solar power production in the intermediate range between rooftops and large parks.
PM-KUSUM Scheme Benefits
- This plan aims to provide a steady income to rural landowners for 25 years by using their dry or unusable land effectively.
- The goal is to ensure there’s enough local solar and other renewable energy to power rural areas and agricultural needs, especially during the day.
- By setting up these power plants closer to where the energy is needed, like rural areas and electrical substations, we can cut down on power loss during transmission for utilities.
- Solar pumps will replace diesel ones, saving farmers money on fuel and providing reliable irrigation without the harmful pollution caused by diesel pumps.
PM-KISAN consists of three components and aims to add a solar capacity of 30.8 GW by 2022:
A: 10,000 MW of decentralised ground mounted grid connected renewable power plants.
B: Installation of two million standalone solar powered agriculture pumps.
C: Solarisation of 1.5 million grid-connected solar powered agriculture pumps. The total central financial support provided under the scheme would be ₹34,000 crore.
Significance of the Scheme
- The scheme aims to encourage people in rural areas to generate their own solar power, which helps in reducing reliance on centralized power sources.
- By generating power locally, we can minimize the loss of electricity that usually happens during long-distance transmission.
- This initiative also intends to ease the financial pressure on utility companies (DISCOMs) by reducing the subsidies they need to provide to the agriculture sector.
- It’s not just about power; the scheme also encourages energy-efficient practices and water conservation, which are crucial for sustainable farming.
- Setting up renewable power plants ranging from 500KW to 2 MW in rural areas gives farmers the opportunity to produce their own electricity.
- Converting existing grid-connected pumps to solar-powered ones not only frees farmers from relying solely on the grid but also allows them to sell excess solar power back to the utility company, giving them an extra source of income.
- Cooperation between the central government and states is crucial for the success of this solar power plan, which aims to decentralize energy production.
- Any changes in India’s power sector require agreement among the central government, state governments, and other involved parties.
- Without this agreement, progress will be slow and incomplete, like trying to bake a cake with only half the ingredients.
- The Ministry reports that out of India’s 30 million agriculture pumps, 22 million run on electricity while eight million use diesel.
- Farming heavily relies on subsidized electricity, but critics point out that it’s also responsible for depleting groundwater rapidly and adding to the financial woes of electricity distribution companies (DISCOMs).
- Agriculture itself consumes a substantial chunk of India’s electricity, gobbling up around 18% of the total consumption, which comes to about 200 billion units every year.
- The COVID-19 pandemic initially slowed down progress in the first half of the 2020-21 fiscal year, but efforts are back on track now.
- To encourage active involvement from stakeholders and ensure effective implementation, the scheme needs to offer more appealing incentives, considering the challenges posed by the high implementation costs and the need for thorough maintenance.
- The Scheme is expected to significantly benefit the environment by cutting down CO2 emissions.
- When all three parts of the Scheme are combined, it’s estimated that about 27 million tonnes of CO2 emissions can be saved each year.
- Specifically, Component-B of the Scheme, which focuses on standalone solar pumps, could lead to a yearly saving of 1.2 billion liters of diesel.
- This would also decrease the need for importing crude oil, resulting in savings in foreign exchange.
- The Scheme is expected to create job opportunities directly.
- Alongside promoting self-employment, the proposal could potentially generate employment equal to 6.31 lakh job years for both skilled and unskilled workers.
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