The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy announces small hydropower (SHP) programs from time to time to provide central financial assistance (CFA) to both government and private sectors involved in developing such projects.
The estimated potential generation from existing 4604.81 MW of installed capacity is 1,2101 MU at 30% Plant Load Factor (PLF).
According to Union Minister of State for New and Renewable Energy, R.K.Singh’s question and answer session in the Lok Sabha, the aggregate capacity of SHP projects commissioned until June 30, 2019, in the country was nearly 4,604.81 MW while, 116 SHP projects aggregating 589.99 MW are currently under construction.
He added that the development of the small hydropower sector is primarily governed by the policies of state governments. Small hydro projects are being set up both by government entities and private developers as per the state policies.
“The central government has been providing support for the development of small hydro projects both in government and private sector,” Singh told the Lok Sabha.
Elaborating on the assistance the Centre provides for the development of SHP, the former bureaucrat said that the Union government provides support for carrying out a detailed survey and investigation (DSI), preparation of detailed project reports (DPR), supporting renovation and modernization of old small hydro projects in the government sector, and preparation of database of prospective small hydro projects.
Singh, in his statement to the Lok Sabha, pointed out that as per the prevailing program guidelines, the government also provides financial support for setting up new small hydro projects under the government or private sector.
Such development shows that the government has become aware of the issues faced by large hydro projects. Small hydro projects are not only cost-intensive with good returns, but they also have less effect on the ecology and topography of the region.
During the Question Hour, when the minister was asked about the other steps taken by the government to achieve the target of generating power from small hydropower projects, the minister told the Lower House of the Indian Parliament that the government has been providing its support to alternative Hydro Energy Centre (now Department of Hydro & Renewable Energy) at IIT Roorkee to set up state-of-art laboratory which will provide technical and training support to SHP developers.
Mercom reported that as per the small hydro power database of July 2016 compiled by the Alternate Hydro Energy Centre of IIT Roorkee, 7,133 potential sites for small hydro projects have been identified with an aggregate capacity of 21,133.65 MW.
However, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) recently issued a notification announcing the cancelation of 53 proposals submitted to the Ministry for CFA for small hydropower projects in the private sector. Majority of these projects are located in Karnataka followed by Himachal Pradesh.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in March approved the proposal put forward by the Ministry of Power to include large hydro power projects over 25 MW under the aegis of renewable energy.
Image credit: By Tangopaso – Own work, Public Domain
Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.