Meeting the power needs with small hydro project

Analysis on socio-economic benefits of setting up small hydro projects.
  With the immense need for the power the country after promoting its big plans for harnessing solar and wind energy,  India has now shifted its focus on small hydro sector as well. In India, power generation from small hydro projects has tremendous potential. Realising this, the government has increased its focus towards small hydro sector and plans to set up 5,000 MW of such projects in the next five years.
India is vested with tremendous potential for small hydro projects that are less than 25 MW capacity. These projects are important for building clean energy capacity in the country. With the current commitment to clean power, there is a need to increase small hydro in overall renewable portfolio. Apart from being clean and a renewable source of power, these projects are cost effective and more efficient than large hydro projects.
Small hydro projects bring in a host of benefits. These projects help in developing a series of socio-economic activities around project areas that help in the overall development of the region. The availability of continuous power helps in sustaining economic activities and generating employment opportunities for local people that lead to better income generation. This can have a major impact on rural society; it will help bring in higher productivity and curb poverty. The availability of power can lead to greater number of productive hours in a day thus leading to better education, health, connectivity and entertainment. Briefing about the socio-economic benefits of setting up small hydro projects Anil Sardana, CEO and Managing Director, Tata Power states, “Small hydro projects can be a vital source of water for drinking and irrigation purposes leading to better agricultural productivity. Small hydro projects are essentially river projects and thus do not involve associated issues like deforestation, resettlement and rehabilitation of people.”
Keeping this in mind, MNRE has initiated the National Mission on Small Hydro (NMSH), a multi-phase project that commenced in April 2015. The first phase of the $ 71.5 million project is expected to achieve installation of an additional 500 MW of small hydro capacity in the two years. MNRE seeks to add an additional 4,500 MW of small hydropower in the subsequent three years.
India has been laying adequate stress on development of the hydro sector. In this pursuit the hydro capacity of India rose from a meagre 508 MW at the time of independence to about 41,650 MW today. While this leap is laudable, it needs to be realised that the share of hydro plants in the total portfolio has not been something to write home about. The share of hydro capacity, which was 37 per cent at the time of independence rose in the initial Five-Year Plan, has been gradually reducing. It is expected that the NMSH will help address issues responsible for the decline of the small hydro sector in India and to renew the private sector’s interest in making investments in this energy sector.
Indian power system is predominantly thermal and peaking requirement is generally met through hydro and gas, which is slowly declining. Hydro power plants with dam and storage requires larger gestation period, higher capital expenditure per mega watt and adverse rehabilitation & resettlement (R&R) issues.
Hydro power in India has come down to 17 per cent of the total installed capacity in country. In case of small hydro most of the schemes are ROR (Run of the River) which results in less environmental disturbance, less civil work and faster implementation period. From commercial point of view the small hydro (less than 25 MW) falls under renewable power category which also entitles for REC and the renewable power attributes.
Rajib Mishra, Director, Power Trading Corporation observes that due to certain reasons there is slowdown in developing small hydro projects. He says, “Corporate and large developers show little interest in development of small hydro projects due to scale. Being scattered at different geographical location and connected at lower voltage level in the state grid it is difficult to sell power for inter-regional sale.”
Small hydro is more suited for distributed generation and catering to the local needs and also for captive industrial use in hill states. “Although there are several government schemes to encourage small hydro, favourable government policy by potential states like Himachal, Uttarakhand and North East is the need of the hour,” Mishra points out.
ConclusionRealising the potential of the sector the government has shifted its focus on small hydro sector after solar and wind energy. Small hydro projects have many socio-economic benefits and can be vital source for power generation. But due to certain aspects the growth of the sector has been stalled. To address this issue the process is going on to identify the major reason for slowdown in the sector. With the new ray of hope, in future small hydro will be helpful in meeting the power needs.

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Meeting the power needs with small hydro project

Analysis on socio-economic benefits of setting up small hydro projects.
  With the immense need for the power the country after promoting its big plans for harnessing solar and wind energy,  India has now shifted its focus on small hydro sector as well. In India, power generation from small hydro projects has tremendous potential. Realising this, the government has increased its focus towards small hydro sector and plans to set up 5,000 MW of such projects in the next five years.
India is vested with tremendous potential for small hydro projects that are less than 25 MW capacity. These projects are important for building clean energy capacity in the country. With the current commitment to clean power, there is a need to increase small hydro in overall renewable portfolio. Apart from being clean and a renewable source of power, these projects are cost effective and more efficient than large hydro projects.
Small hydro projects bring in a host of benefits. These projects help in developing a series of socio-economic activities around project areas that help in the overall development of the region. The availability of continuous power helps in sustaining economic activities and generating employment opportunities for local people that lead to better income generation. This can have a major impact on rural society; it will help bring in higher productivity and curb poverty. The availability of power can lead to greater number of productive hours in a day thus leading to better education, health, connectivity and entertainment. Briefing about the socio-economic benefits of setting up small hydro projects Anil Sardana, CEO and Managing Director, Tata Power states, “Small hydro projects can be a vital source of water for drinking and irrigation purposes leading to better agricultural productivity. Small hydro projects are essentially river projects and thus do not involve associated issues like deforestation, resettlement and rehabilitation of people.”
Keeping this in mind, MNRE has initiated the National Mission on Small Hydro (NMSH), a multi-phase project that commenced in April 2015. The first phase of the $ 71.5 million project is expected to achieve installation of an additional 500 MW of small hydro capacity in the two years. MNRE seeks to add an additional 4,500 MW of small hydropower in the subsequent three years.
India has been laying adequate stress on development of the hydro sector. In this pursuit the hydro capacity of India rose from a meagre 508 MW at the time of independence to about 41,650 MW today. While this leap is laudable, it needs to be realised that the share of hydro plants in the total portfolio has not been something to write home about. The share of hydro capacity, which was 37 per cent at the time of independence rose in the initial Five-Year Plan, has been gradually reducing. It is expected that the NMSH will help address issues responsible for the decline of the small hydro sector in India and to renew the private sector’s interest in making investments in this energy sector.
Indian power system is predominantly thermal and peaking requirement is generally met through hydro and gas, which is slowly declining. Hydro power plants with dam and storage requires larger gestation period, higher capital expenditure per mega watt and adverse rehabilitation & resettlement (R&R) issues.
Hydro power in India has come down to 17 per cent of the total installed capacity in country. In case of small hydro most of the schemes are ROR (Run of the River) which results in less environmental disturbance, less civil work and faster implementation period. From commercial point of view the small hydro (less than 25 MW) falls under renewable power category which also entitles for REC and the renewable power attributes.
Rajib Mishra, Director, Power Trading Corporation observes that due to certain reasons there is slowdown in developing small hydro projects. He says, “Corporate and large developers show little interest in development of small hydro projects due to scale. Being scattered at different geographical location and connected at lower voltage level in the state grid it is difficult to sell power for inter-regional sale.”
Small hydro is more suited for distributed generation and catering to the local needs and also for captive industrial use in hill states. “Although there are several government schemes to encourage small hydro, favourable government policy by potential states like Himachal, Uttarakhand and North East is the need of the hour,” Mishra points out.
ConclusionRealising the potential of the sector the government has shifted its focus on small hydro sector after solar and wind energy. Small hydro projects have many socio-economic benefits and can be vital source for power generation. But due to certain aspects the growth of the sector has been stalled. To address this issue the process is going on to identify the major reason for slowdown in the sector. With the new ray of hope, in future small hydro will be helpful in meeting the power needs.

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