The Government of India plans to set up solar and wind power projects on a 30km long and 20km wide area of land along the India-Pakistan border in Kutch District of Gujarat. Solar Energy Corporation of India is responsible for building a solar park in the border area under the guidance of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The project is expected to provide electricity for border lights as well as villages and towns near the border.
The idea for this project was initially proposed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in alignment with India’s Renewable Energy Programme, which aims to achieve 175GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. This effort is aimed at better utilizing the wastelands on the border and also tackle the global problem of climate change. Moreover, this would assure food security by saving agricultural lands which have otherwise been regularly used for such projects.
India currently generates about 23% of its total power production from renewable energy, which accounts for 82,580MW. The government is promoting state-run companies to build energy parks in the area, which should be able to produce 2,000MW of energy at a cost of around $2 billion. This would eventually reduce the long-term average costs of renewable energy by bringing down the power tariffs.
There are some security concerns regarding the remote location of the project, which is notorious for weapons smuggling and hawala money operations. The government is taking adequate steps to mitigate these issues through the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System, which was launched to provide solutions such as:
- Smart fencing, underground monitoring sensors, laser barriers, night vision devices, surveillance radar help monitor the border
- Solar panels for powering BSF posts to help soldiers recharge their equipment