Year 2016 has had its ups and downs like most industries RE was no different… and small hydro took a beating due to failed monsoon most parts of the country, but when it comes to the future Green Energy is definitely the future. I feel small and mini hydro projects have a unique advantage that apart from green power, we deliver grid quality power and can be set up both in grids connected as well as off grid mode as per the need. Small hydro projects can improve remote and rural areas and becomes a permanent source of power and income generation. Hydropower involves multi-disciplinary human resources for planning, design, execution, management and operation & maintenance. Civil, electrical, mechanical, electronic engineering and socio-economy are the disciplines in which hydropower personnel need to be trained.
SHP program in India now is largely private investment driven. Generally, SHP projects have been economically viable . There has been a decline in the capacity addition from small hydro recently as cost of project has gone up and tariff given to the power generated from SHP projects has not been so attractive in supporting investments. The Ministry has reported that so far, 1047 small hydropower projects aggregating to 4146 MW have been set up in various parts of the country and 206 projects of about 591 MW are in various stages of implementation. At present, a capacity addition of about 250 MW per year is being achieved from SHP projects of which more than 70% is coming through the private sector. In order to accelerate the pace of small hydro development, both public and private sector participation for commercial projects and decentralized micro hydel for remote village electrification are being encouraged. The target of capacity addition from SHP projects of 1300 MW (revised target 1400 MW) during the 11th Plan period.
The Ministry has set up a group to prepare a National Small Hydro Mission. The objective of the Mission is to address issues responsible for decline of SHP sector in the country and to regenerate interest among government, community and private sector to develop and make investment in this renewable energy sector. Technological innovation, new methods of civil construction, standard designs and automation can be helpful in arresting the increase in cost of projects. The Mission targets to achieve 500 MW of capacity in the next two years and aim towards adding 4500 MW in the subsequent three years, for which preparation ,including appropriate policy interventions ,will be done in the first two years of the Mission. An investment of Rs. 50,000 crore is expected to be infused primarily in the rural economy and about Rs.5,000 crore may be required as support from the Govt. of India. There are a number of irrigation canal drops (specially below 3 m) and dams in the country that can open new avenues for developing small hydro projects.
Why Green Energy is the future?
Over the next 14 years, India is on course to become the world’s fourth-largest consumer of renewable energy, after China, United States and European Union, as predicted by the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) report Road Map For A Renewable Energy Future, 2016 (REmap). Renewable energy will account for 40% (two-fifths) of power generation in India by 2030, if global renewable energy supplies double. India has embarked on a fast-track renewable-energy mission under Modiji, particularly solar energy. Around 293 global and domestic companies have committed to generate 266 GW of solar, wind, mini-hydel and biomass-based power in India over the next few years.
India ranks third among 40 countries in EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, on back of strong focus by the government on promoting renewable energy and implementation of projects in a time bound manner. Massive investments in capital from the utilities are going into Solar. I feel the investors are targeting renewables as strong assets, not as an inadequate option . Shri Narendra Modi government has an incredibly ambitious plan for Solar 100 GW by 2022… a staggering $100 billion into the sector over the next seven years. The Government of India’s focus on attaining ‘Power for all’ I feel will help in to accelerate RE capacity addition in the country.
Sanjith S. Shetty