Report says hydropower can provide India sustainable energy security


A report released this month by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) indicates hydropower development in India can play a crucial role in the country’s sustainable energy security if sites for new installed capacity -- among other things -- are accessible, stable and affordable.

According to published reports, India ranks fifth in the world in terms of usable hydroelectric potential, and the country has an estimated potential of 148 GW. India has around 41,000 MW of installed hydropower capacity, while an additional 13,000 MW is under construction.

According to the PwC report, which is titled “Hydropower@Crossroads,” some of the measures India has taken to meet the desire for an increase in hydropower generation includes policy. India’s government implemented several initiatives beginning in the late 1990s and most recently, this year.

Some key policy-level changes introduced to facilitate hydropower development included the Hydropower Development Policy in 1998; the 50,000-MW initiative in 2003; the National Electricity Policy in 2005; and in 2008 the Mega Power Projects Policy and the National Hydro Power Policy.

Most recently, the government has implemented two notable initiatives:

2015 -- Governance by the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC)

  • To restore and maintain frequency of electric supply at desired levels by providing commercial incentives for both ramp-up and back-down ancillary services.

2016 -- National Tariff Policy

  • Underlines the norms for ancillary services;
  • Authorizes CERC to introduce norms and framework for ancillary services necessary to support grid operation, including the method of how to share operational costs; and
  • Provides exemption from competitive bidding until 2022.

The report indicates nearly 75% of India’s total potential is concentrated in the north and northeast and regions. But, only about 7% of potential has been tapped in the northeast region.

Major hindrances to development include technical issues, land acquisition, infrastructure and financing.

The report also said in order to successfully increase project development, the government needs to streamline licensing processes, create a sustainable business environment through fiscal incentives, develop new financing avenues and enable states to build supporting infrastructure.

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