Yogesh Daruka, Partner, Energy, Utilities & Mining, PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd.
The hydro power exploitation in India has slowed down. What do you think are the reasons behind it?
The key issues hydropower sector faces are delays in clearance and approval procedures, R&R and land acquisition issues, infrastructure availability in remote areas, inadequate incentives and capacity of developers. The issues are compounded with water and hydropower development being state specific subject with varied policies across the states. Further, hydropower projects being capital intensive require higher upfront costs and financing such projects requires optimum balance to be achieved between bankability & affordability.
Technology of course, plays a huge role. What are the latest technologies that can be leveraged in hydro power generation?
Technological innovations in recent years have made hydro power generation more cost effective, safe & reliable. Some of the key technological developments in hydropower sector are around increasing the efficiency of turbines (velocity 1.25 to 1.30 times greater than traditional ´free flow´ turbines for increased power generation), adding hydropower capabilities at low-head sites and enhancing the capacity factors (such as higher than 98% with turbine blades mounted on catamaran type barges)
What are the key measures to accelerate the hydropower sector in India?
In the 12th Five-Year Plan, the target for hydropower capacity addition was 10897 MW, whereas only 34% of the planned capacity has been added till now. Some key measures to accelerate hydropower are:
Hydropower planning & focus on integrated river basin development:
Hydropower development in India has generally been oriented toward individual projects. This approach has limitations for sustainable development of an entire river basin
Efficient coordination for implementation:
Ministries, departments and state governments need to work together collaboratively and efficiently in a coordinated manner to achieve policy goals and capacity addition targets.
Focus on responsible development: The overarching principle for socially and environmentally responsible hydropower development needs to be that the project affected population be the first beneficiary of the project. A well enunciated benefit-sharing framework by the government to share monetary and non-monetary returns with stakeholders is required.
Creation of evacuation infrastructure and other associated infrastructure to facilitate project implementation in a cost-effective manner. Development of such associated infrastructure spurs economic activities and the states need to play a key role in developing such infrastructure.
Technical capacity development to equip agencies involved and introduce modern techniques & technologies.
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