Maharashtra MLAs will work towards accelerated development of renewable energy in the State.

Mumbai. The multi-party MLAs in Maharashtra Assembly will collectively work towards the actual realization of the renewable energy potential of the state, through their legislative actions. They will focus on the new comprehensive renewable energy policy and a solar policy for the state. The legislators will also demand to form a standing committee on Energy in the Maharashtra Assembly. Maharashtra has no solar policy and the state renewable energy policy is old. Maharashtra assembly has no standing committee on energy or environment. In a meeting held on 11 June evening in Mumbai, cross party MLAs along with experts from IIT Mumbai and Climate Parliament have identified several policy and financial challenges that need to be urgently addressed by the state and the central governments, to give a boost to both off grid and grid connected renewable energy in the state. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Jay Kumar Rawal, MLA and was organized by Youth Forum of Legislatures and Climate Parliament, a global network of legislators, working to promote renewable energy, to combat climate change. In his speech, Mr Rawal highligted that the objective of the Legislators Meet on ‘Accelerating Renewable Energy development in Maharashtra ’ is to actively bring together cross party MLAs to inform and involve them about the growth strategies for Renewable Energy and the different Government Initiatives taken up in the state. To address issues like the rising cost of energy and power deficit in the state, it is critical to gather key perspectives on how Maharashtra Legislators can initiate and steer policy dialogues and parliamentary interventions for promoting large scale renewable energy in the near future.’ Mr Rawal mentioned that during the previous Maharashtra Assembly winter session at Nagpur and budget session early this year, multi-party legislators gave their consent to form the Climate Parliament Maharashtra network. Mr Rawal, who was also unanimously chosen as Convener of the network emphasized that cross party MLAs will strengthen this network, and focus their legislative actions towards the development of more comprehensive state renewable energy policy, and financial framework. Mr. Sanjay Sawkare, State Minister of Agriculture, Maharashtra Government mentioned that in order to sustain the growth of Maharashtra’ economy and address its energy issues, the state need to implement a solar policy. According to Mrs. Varsha Gaikwad Cabinet Minister Maharashtra Government, Women and Child development MLA LAD funds can be a useful means to provide renewable energy systems in rural areas at affordable prices. Various MLAs also agreed on utilizing their local area development fund on promoting the distribution of solar appliances and other energy systems in their constituencies. Further, in order to improve the overall energy scenario in Maharashtra in a sustainable manner, the state should formulate a coordinated policy response cutting across various state ministries. In that context, Mr Rawal emphasized that the State Government should take a holistic view of its energy needs and policy options. To augment that process he said that there is a need for an institutional set up within the assembly in the form of a Standing Committee on Energy. Such a committee shall focus on the key issues and gaps in the energy sector as well as evaluate how renewable energy in Maharashtra can be further harnessed to meet the needs of our people, especially in villages. Some prominent multi-party MLAs who attended the meeting were: Dhanraj Chougule, Harish Pimple, Prof Ram Shinde, Rahul Mote, Manglesh Sangle, Chandrashekhar Bawonkule, Ashish Jaiswal, Dr Balaji Kinikar, Dr Sujit Minachekar and Chandredeep Narake. MLA Dr Sanjay Kute said that the State Government needs to undertake a comprehensive and sustained project to check the feasibility of locations for various renewable energy projects. Such an updated study will be beneficial to the potential investors. Accelerating Public Private Partnership initiatives in this sector is certainly one of the ways forward for a large scale deployment of grid connected, off grid and captive renewable energy generation. In that context, cross part MLAs agreed that Maharashtra Government should also focus on developing a comprehensive Renewable Energy Policy that can addresses several issues and gaps that currently exist for the renewable energy sector in the state. The Meeting was also attended by Mr. Mukul Sharma, Mr Deepak Rai and Mr Ashok Kumar Singh (Climate Parliament), Prof Anand Rao and Dr Amit Arora (IIT Bombay).