There is some good news for the suburban residents. The central government has sanctioned funds to some second-tier cities in order to aid their transition into solar cities. The cities to receive financial aid, which include Kalyan-Dombivli from Maharashtra, are among the 43 selected from across for the ‘solar city’ programme, under which, the cities will have to meet at least 10 percent of the incremental energy needs through renewable sources over the next five years.
The initial amount of Rs 50 lakh, to be handed over to the civic bodies, will be used for activities such as setting up a dedicated ‘solar cell’ in KDMC and for preparing a master plan for meeting targets and promoting this unique programme. It is an initiative by the ministry of new and renewable energy, under a long-term plan to augment solar energy production capacity in .
The ministry, which is executing an ambitious project to take ’s solar production capacity from around 50 megawatts to 1,300 megawatts (MW) over the next few years, has plans to identify more such city corporations with a “high level of commitment in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy” to serve as examples for the remaining areas. Around 34 cities were identified as of the end of last year and the number will keep rising in the near future, according to information released by the ministry.
The cities, which have population in the range of 5 lakh to 50 lakh, will be identified and funds will be allocated by the year 2013. Maharashtra has five cities approved for inclusion in the project, including Thane, Nagpur, Aurangabad and Nanded apart from these suburbs. The ministry aims to include at least one city from each state.
Meanwhile, Japan has also shown interest in developing these futuristic solar cities of . Japan wants to promote “Midori no Bunken”, which aims at changing a centralized society into a community based one, in order to enhance self sufficiency within a region through maximizing natural resources (ie forest, sea, food) and energy, besides emphasizing on electricity generated by renewable sources like solar, wind, micro-hydel and biomass energy.
The two countries have also agreed to strengthen cooperation in research and development for promoting renewable energy.