India loosens rules to promote switch to clean energy

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India has eased rules to allow commercial and industrial consumers to switch to green sources of electricity, as the nation seeks to decarbonize its fossil fuels-driven economy.

Users seeking “open access to a clean energy source - without being tied to the local distributor - will have fewer surcharges to pay, and the approval process will be quicker,” the power ministry said in a statement.

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The threshold for such transactions is being reduced to 100 kilowatts, from one megawatt previously, to allow smaller consumers benefit.

The new rules could hasten large power users’ switch away from coal, currently the source of more than 70 percent of India’s electricity.

Companies are keen to improve their credentials on sustainability, and they’re increasingly embracing renewable power.

Getting provincial power distributors - which control nearly 90 percent of the country’s electricity supplies - to adopt the change is the next big challenge. Customers have historically found it expensive to find alternate power sources.

The government’s aim is to help customers minimize the cost of electricity, Power Minister Raj Kumar Singh told reporters in New Delhi, while discussing the rules. “We shall do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal,” he said.

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