- Kerala Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac Friday made a bold announcement that the state will impose a ban on the sale of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and incandescent (filament) bulbs starting November this year as part of sustainable energy policy. He also added that streetlights and bulbs in government offices across the state will be converted to light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.
- In his budget speech, the finance minister said nearly 2.5 crore LED bulbs have been produced on a mass scale in the state for public consumption.
- Isaac’s announcement is in line with the government project of ‘Filament-free Kerala’ envisaged in 2018 as part of the state’s Urja Kerala mission. LED bulbs are energy-efficient than filament or CFL bulbs and will, therefore, generate less waste. Also, filament bulbs contain the mercury element which, when broken, is polluting in nature.
- The filament-free Kerala project will be implemented by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and the Energy Management Centre, Kerala. Consumers in the state can place orders for LED bulbs on the KSEB website in exchange for existing filament bulbs. Nine-watt LED bulbs are being sold at reduced prices by the government to encourage usage. Last year, Peelikode in Kasaragod district became the first panchayat in the country to be completely filament-free.
- The project is also part of the long-term sustainable energy policy of the Left government to reduce the dependence on conventional energy sources and instead maximise potential on renewable sources like solar and hydel power. The project to install solar panels on rooftops of households and residential complexes, being implemented by the KSEB, is a step in that direction.
- The finance minister today, in his budget, allocated Rs 1,765 crores for the energy sector and hoped to create 500MW from solar energy installations. He promised financial assistance for initiatives like the one Peelikodu panchayat took to conserve energy. He also said the problems of power deficiency and interruptions in existing lines can be solved through transmission lines and the Rs 10,000 crore Transgrid-2 project, work on which has begun.