Karnataka Focuses on Electric Mobility in New Budget

The budget did not mention solar or wind-based projects


In the recent state budget announcement, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa announced that ₹100 million (~$13.56 million) would be allocated to establish an electric vehicle and energy storage manufacturing cluster in the state. With this, Karnataka has become the first state to have an electric vehicle and energy storage policy in the country.

The proposed plan will be set up under the fifth stage of the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) industrial area in Harohalli of Ramanagara Taluk.

During the presentation of the budget for 2020-21 in the state Assembly, the chief minister said that under the FAME India-II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India) program, 300 air-conditioned electric buses are being added to the fleet of Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC).

On similar lines, the state government is providing a grant of ₹1 billion (~$13.56 million) for adding 500 ordinary electric buses to the fleet of the corporation.

In his budget speech, the chief minister said that the action has already been taken to purchase 90 electric buses under Smart City Project to encourage mass transport and to provide adequate metro feeder transport facility to metro commuters.

Last year, the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) had unveiled a plan to set up 678 electric vehicle charging stations across Karnataka.

BESCOM had proposed setting up charging stations between every 20-25 km, for a stretch of 50 km distance on either side of the road along the Bangalore-Tumkur highway, and a 100 km stretch along the Bangalore-Mysore highway. The charging stations would be mostly set up in the premises of government buildings.

Karnataka was among the first few Indian states to launch a specific EV policy. It announced the FAME program in January 2018.

To improve the last mile connectivity in public transport in Bengaluru, the budget also proposed to implement the “Electric Bike Taxi” project.

The chief minister said that the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited has also proposed to establish a new waste to energy power generation center of 11.5 MW capacity in Bidadi of Ramanagara district at an estimated cost of ₹2.1 billion (~$28.49 million). Nearly 70 million units of power will be generated annually from this project. This would help the management of segregated waste generated in Bengaluru city.

However, the state Budget 2020-21 has no mention of any plans or projects related to solar or wind renewable energy sources. This budget has not laid down any set of grants or funds for the development of renewable energy in the state.

Last year, The Karnataka State Solar Policy 2014-21 was amended for the third time and addressed three important points – the size limitation of private solar parks, the performance guarantee for group captive projects, and the project completion time for captive, group captive and independent power producers (IPPs) for third-party sale.

According to central government estimates, Karnataka has emerged as the best state in India for rooftop solar projects. Last year, Mercom had published a research report that gave Karnataka the top spot among all states pursuing the expansion of large-scale solar projects.

Image credit: Bikashrd / CC BY-SA