In an interaction with POWER TODAY, BK Bhatt, Director, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy talks about the status and development of SHPs in India.
What is the estimated potential of SHP in India?
The estimated potential for power generation in the country from small/mini hydel projects is 19,749 MW from 6,474 identified sites, 50 per cent of which are located in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh. Sizeable potential also exists in the plains of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Kerala.
Tell us about the Ministry initiatives in this direction.
The Ministry has taken several steps to promote SHP development and improve reliability and quality of the projects. Apart from subsidising state governments to set up SHPs, we have also attracted investments in commercial SHP projects by giving various physical and financial incentives. The Ministry is promoting the use of new and efficient designs in water mills for mechanical as well as electrical generation and setting up of micro hydel projects up to 100 KW for remote village electrification. These projects are taken up with local organisations like the water mills associations, cooperative societies, registered NGOs, village energy cooperatives, and state nodal agencies. The Ministry has been providing Central Financial Assistance to states and the private sector to set up small/mini hydro projects and has also been organising technical support and training through Alternate Hydro Energy Systems (AHEC).
What is the status of private participation in these projects?
The Policy for SHP and private sector participation, is governed by the Electricity Act 2003, the National Electricity Policy 2005 and Tariff Policy 2006. So far, 23 states have announced their policy for private sector participation in SHPs and the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) have been empowered to decide on various components of the policy such as tariff, wheeling, banking and third party sale for grid interactive renewable energy-based power projects in their respective states.
A large share of capacity addition is being achieved through private investment. Out of the 6,474 SHP projects in the country, 395 SHP projects with total capacity of 2,227.60 MW have been set up through private sector participation.
What has the National Mission role been in promoting SHPs?
The objective of the National Mission on small hydro is to address issues responsible for decline of the SHP sector in the country and to regenerate interest in it with the government, communities and private sector.
The Mission´s target is to achieve 500 MW of capacity in the next two years and we aim to add 4,500 MW in the subsequent three years, for which preparation, including appropriate policy interventions, will be done in the first two years of the mission. Other major objectives include creating an enabling policy framework along with the states for the deployment of 5,000 MW SHPs by 2022; evaluating all existing government sector SHPs with a view to renovate, modernise and upgrade them, if required; developing new technologies and engineering solutions to set up low and ultra low head (below 3m) SHPs on canals, dam outlets and water outfall structures; developing a network of water mills, individual household systems and micro hydro projects in remote and rural areas and identifying new small hydro potential sites, etc.