India has the world’s fifth-largest electricity generation capacity and demand is expected to surge in the coming years owing to growth in the economy. Thermal power in India accounts for roughly two-thirds of the power generated in India which includes gas, liquid fuel and coal. The Government of India has decided to acquire additional power from the country’s vast untapped hydropower resources, so as to set the target for India’s optimum power system mix at 40 percent from hydropower and 60 percent from other sources.
We have immense economically exploitable hydropower potential of over 84,000 MW at 60% load factor which is equivalent to 148700 MW installed capacity. In addition to this, 6872 MW from 1512 small hydro schemes can also be economically exploited. Further, the government agencies have identified 56 sites from pumped storage schemes with an aggregate installed capacity of 94,000 MW. However, only 15% of the hydroelectric potential has been harnessed so far and another 7% is under various stages of development. Moreover, about 78% of the potential remains without any plan for exploitation till date.
Over the last few years, hydropower project development has gained momentum with the Indian government's multi-pronged approach of involving more stakeholders in alleviating the causes for the delays—encouraging private developers, pushing the concerned authorities to expedite statutory clearances, engaging developers and the ministries involved in dialogue to handle environment and rehabilitation issues, and developing conducive policies along the way.
The government has taken up initiatives to realize the potential of hydro-power like giving clearances to long pending projects such as the 800 MW Tawang-II hydropower project in Arunachal Pradesh, paving the way for its implementation. It has also taken up some ambitious programmes such as the Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP). Also, the Ministry’s aim is that the SHP installed capacity should be about 7000 MW by the end of 12th Plan. The focus of the SHP programme is to lower the cost of equipment, increase its reliability and set up projects in areas which give the maximum advantage in terms of capacity utilisation.
But, despite hydroelectric projects being recognized as the most economic and preferred source of electricity, the share of hydro power has been declining steadily due to several technological and socioeconomic issues. This has primarily been due to regulatory barriers, high financing costs, land acquisition problems, difficulty regarding rehabilitation and resettlement of project-affected persons, long gestation periods, time consuming process for project clearances, highly capital intensive and absence of committed funds, inter-state disputes, environmental & rehabilitation controversies etc.
In the context of addressing these concerns InfralineEnergy is organizing a two-day Conference on “Hydro Power in India’’ wherein we intend to create a platform for the industry to discuss in detail the current scenario of hydro power in India and also deliberate upon its issues and challenges whilst coming up with probable solutions.