The state government of Maharashtra has issued a government resolution (GR) for setting up a green energy cell in the textile department, under the ministry of cooperatives. As per this resolution, the government will buy the excess lands available with spinning cooperatives for developing renewable energy plants. The total number of spinning cooperatives are 59 in the state. In all, they have around 1,200 acres of excess land. In Vidarbha, there are close to a dozen cooperatives having excess land to the tune of 177 acres.
A spinning mill typically needs not more than 15 acres of land for their setup and therefore a large part of these lands have remained unused. The cooperatives had purchased huge tracts of land at the time of formation. Now, as the majority of the mills are in losses so the management is keen to sell off the land for modernization. Sale of these lands will help them the cash for revival. If all the cooperatives instal a power plant, the subsidy outflow from the state’s side comes at Rs 300 crore.
Since the state government is a majority shareholder in the cooperatives it is, therefore, planning to put in a condition that part of the proceeds of the sale of land should be invested in renewable energy plant. This is also being pushed as a modernization initiative. As a one-time investment, the move would ultimately save considerably on the power cost.
The purpose of the sale of excess land will only be to install renewable energy plants
The textile department has estimated that all 59 spinning cooperatives can set up renewable energy plants with a total capacity of 321.71 MW. This estimation is based on the land available with the cooperatives and their current electricity consumption. Therefore a policy is being worked to allow the cooperatives to sell off the excess land if they give the undertaking to set up a renewable energy plant on the remaining area. Among the renewable energy technology, the focus will be on to install solar or wind power plant. A 1MW of solar power plant requires 5 Acres of land. A wind power plant whose minimum standard size is 2 MW acquires 1.5 Acres of land.
The spinning mills consume power ranging from 50,000 units to even three crore units in a given year. This is equivalent to renewable energy plants with a capacity from 1MW to 23MW.
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