Energy is a pre-requisite for economic growth. Access to energy multiplies the ability of an economy to scale up development. The growth of the modern industrial age was fuelled by abundant supplies of energy from fossil sources. Today however, the energy sector is in a process of transformation. On one hand there is a steadily rising demand, led especially by developing economies. This trend is well reflected in Karnataka’s growing demand. On the other hand the impact of energy consumption on the environment and particularly on the climate is well known. Conscious efforts are being made to conserve energy. In Karnataka, energy conservation is still at an infancy stage even though the supply deficit is adding to the opportunity therein. The situation is compounded by the fact that renewable energy, which offers clean and dependable alternatives, is nowhere near large-scale deployment although significant inroads have been made with smaller projects. For Karnataka energy is a challenge, a fact that is unlikely to change in the near future.
Institutional capacity of the state
Adequate action on energy efficiency, renewable energy development, energy access and related energy issues can be taken only if technology, finance, managerial know-how and administrative support are available. Major agencies in the state are found to have broadly the requisite capacities. However, human resource development is an important area in which further investment is needed. KREDL is in the process of expanding its abilities in energy audit, an effort that may require further support from both the state and the private sector. Also the coordination between institutions need to be strengthened to align complementary resources available.
Major agencies in the state into Power Sector
1. Department of Energy
2. Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd. (KREDL)
3. Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL)
4. Department of Rural Development & Panchayat Raj
5. Public Works Department (PWD)
The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) was established as a regulatory authority of the State’s power sector. Among other functions of the KERC, it regulates the tariff for supply of power to different categories of consumers. Four Electricity Supply Companies (ESCOMs), Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd. (BESCOM), Mangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd. (MESCOM), Hubli Electricity Supply Company Ltd. (HESCOM), and Gulbarga Electricity Supply Company Ltd. (GESCOM) were established during 2002 and another ESCOM, Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation Ltd. (CESC) was established in 2005. These five distribution companies are engaged in retail supply of electricity to the end consumers.
The main sources of power supply in Karnataka are:
a. Generating Stations of KPCL
b. Independent Power Producers (IPP’s) (Conventional and Non-conventional)
c. States share from Central Generating Stations
d. Procurement from other States through bilateral trade, purchase and energy exchanges
e. Barter arrangement (power banking)
Flagship programmes of State and Central Governments for Rural Electrification
State Government flagship programme: Nirantharajyothi Yojane (NJY)
Niranthara Jyothi Yojane is a major project that aims to segregate the rural area loads into agricultural and non-agricultural loads so as to provide 24 hours of quality power supply to rural households, drinking water supply, rural industries and fixed hours of power supply to the irrigation pumpsets. The Niranthara Jyothi scheme is being implemented in two phases covering 126 taluks with 70 taluks and 56 taluks being covered in the first and second phases respectively. The cost of implementation of Phase-1 is Rs 1203 crore and Phase-2 implementation cost is Rs. 920 crore. Thus, the Government of Karnataka has approved the implementation of the Niranthara Jyothi scheme at a total cost of Rs 2123 crore with 40% equity contribution from the state. The ESCOMs are expected to borrow the remaining 60% of the project cost as a loan. The implementation of Niranthara Jyothi phase-1 is under progress. As per the latest status, 393 Niranthara Jyothi feeder works (377 feeders in phase1 and 16 feeders in phase2) are completed of which 284 feeders have been commissioned as of October 2012. It is aimed to complete the implementation by December-2012. The State Government has released Rs. 547.32 crore as equity and an expenditure of Rs.343.81 crore has been incurred till now.
Central Government flagship programme: Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY)
RGGVY, a programme for developing rural electricity infrastructure and expanding household electrification was launched in 2005 by the central government with the objective of providing access to electricity to all rural households. At the time of inception, the scheme aimed at electrification of over 100,000 un-electrified villages and free electricity connections to 23.4 million rural below poverty line (BPL) households in India. Under this scheme, the Govt. of India provides the required financial support with 90% as grant and the remaining 10% as a loan by Rural Electrification Corporation Limited. In Karnataka, the scheme is being implemented in 2 phases, X five-year plan phase covering 17 districts and the XI five-year plan phase covering 9 districts and 1 Taluk under Hukkeri Rural Electric cooperative society. Works under X plan phase are completed, and the works of XI plan phase are under progress. Under X plan, electricity connections were provided to 631,359 BPL households and 46 villages were electrified. Under XI plan, electricity connections were provided to 213,902 BPL households and 15 villages up to end of October 2012. Under XI plan, Rs. 264.82 crore has been released and an expenditure of Rs. 279.75 crore has been incurred as of October 2012.
Source : Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited Annual Reports -2014-15.