Hydropower Development in India: Current Status and Market Barriers

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  • Topic: Hydroelectricity, International Hydropower Association, Electricity
  • Pages : 16 (4646 words )
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  • Published : December 13, 2012
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Hydropower Development in India

A note on Current Status and Market Barriers

1 Background

India has immense economically exploitable hydropower potential of over 84,000 MW at 60% load factor (148700 MW installed capacity), with Brahamaputra, Indus and Ganges basins contributing about 80% of it. In addition to this, small, mini and micro hydropower schemes (with capacity less than 3 MW) have been assessed to have 6781.81 MW of installed capacity. Of this enormous hydro potential, India has harnessed only about 15% so far, with another 7% under various stages of development. The remaining 78% remains un-harnessed due to many issues and barriers to the large scale development of Hydropower in the subcontinent.

Various studies have established the ideal Hydro:Thermal power mix for India at to be at 60:40. The present mix of 75:45 is creating much problem in the Indian power system with country facing energy shortage of 9.3% and peaking shortage of 12.8%. The total requirement ending XI plan is set to be 206000 MW. The current installed thermal and hydropower capacity stands at 66% and 26% of the total power generated with 83272 and 32726 MW respectively. Remaining 8% of 10091 MW is achieved from other forms including wind and nuclear. The current captive generation amounts to 14636 MW.

India’s power system is divided into five major region namely, the Northern region, Western region, Southern region, Eastern region and North-Eastern region, with each region facing separate issues. While the Eastern and North-Eastern regions are power abundant, the Northern and Western regions have greater power demands. The hydropower potential is largest in NE region with 98% of it still untapped. Northern, Eastern, Western and Southern regions have 79%, 77%, 23% and 33% untapped hydropower potential respectively.

Table 1: List of Hydro Electric Stations with capacity above 3 MW

|Region |No. of Stations |No. of Units |Capacity in MW | |Northern |78 |234 |11070.30 | |Western |45 |117 |6588.80 | |Southern |92 |286 |11004.35 | |Eastern |26 |82 |2424.10 | |North Eastern |15 |42 |1094.70 | |Total |256 |761 |32182.25 |

The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Ministry of Power (MoP) are the nodal agencies involved in power sector planning and development at the central level. Being a concurrent subject under the Indian Constitution, electricity is generated, transmitted, maintained and developed both by central and state authorities, with the primary role with the states. With the central policy providing the overall direction for development, State determines the power generation, distribution and management systems. The development of water resources lies with the State Government. Since hydropower development involves water resources, the responsibility of its development stays primarily with the State agencies.

The power sector in India is still largely public with 89% share in the total installed capacity.

2 Benefits of Hydropower and reasons for its slow development

Hydropower has immense benefits and has been brought forward as a preferred option for power generation over the last decade. The reasons for these can be summed as follows: ▪ Abundant potential of hydropower development in India as discussed above ▪ With relative independence from international market like oil prices, hydropower involves no extra foreign...
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