Budget 2016–2017 Highlights: Promoting Green economy to maximise investment opportunities
Budget 2016-2017 outlines Government policy on developing local sources of renewable energy which offers a unique potential for launching a green economy, with new high value-added jobs, while at the same time addressing environmental issues and reducing future oil import bills.
The Central Electricity Board (CEB) will create a renewable energy company, which will ultimately become a special vehicle for the production of electricity from solar photo voltaic systems of up to 15 MW. Shareholding will subsequently be opened to SMEs, cooperative societies and small investors.
Moreover, a feasibility study will be carried out on the production of electricity through solar panels on roof tops of houses. Over the next five years some 10 000 households who are benefitting from the social electricity tariff will be involved in this project. Investment costs will be fully met by the public sector. These households will get the first 50 Kwh monthly free of charge and all surplus production will go to CEB.
In order to accommodate the production of more electricity from intermittent renewable sources, the capacity of the grid for absorption of such power will be increased. CEB will invest Rs 400 million to increase the grid absorption capacity of intermittent energy from 148MW to 160 MW by 2018. In a bid to become resilient to the intermittent nature of renewable energy, the procurement of battery storage systems is envisaged. To this end VAT on Photovoltaic Inverters and Batteries has been removed.
Upgrading works to the tune of Rs 200 million will be carried out at Sans Souci power plant. Furthermore twelve sites with potential hydro power generation have identified on private land.
By 2019 a major waste-to-energy project is expected to add up to 30 MW of electricity on the national grid. Government will facilitate production of energy from bio-mass, including cane tops and trash and at the same time ensure that small planters get their fair share of the revenue.
The Electricity Act and the CEB Act will be amended to accelerate the permit approval process of renewable energy investment projects.