India is endowed with large hydropower potential of 1,45,320 MW, and is the seventh largest producer of hydroelectric power in the world. The hydropower sector is currently going through a challenging times, the sectoral share has declined from 50.36% in the 1960s to around 13% in 2018-19. Only about 10,000 MW of hydropower has been added in the last 10 years. Between the year 2008 and 2018, the hydel power’s share of India’s total installed electricity capacity has gone down drastically from 25% to 13% between 2008 and 2018. The capacity has grown at just 1% at the end of 2018 totalling 45,400 MW. In the last 5-6 years, the entire focus of the Government has shifted towards generation of electricity through Solar and Wind energy sources. The hydropower sector lost its importance due to the delay in project execution and high tariff in the initial stage. The sector did not receive adequate attention from the policy makers in the last decade. The recent developments and the measures taken by the government is likely to revive interest and investments in the sector. Sandeep Sharma takes a closer look at the hydro power sector....
According to International Hydropower Association (IHA) report titled, Hydropower Status Report 2019 | Sector Trends and Insights, in the year 2018, the electricity generation from hydropower reached the highest ever estimated figures of 4,200 terawatt hours (TWh). An estimated 21.8 gigawatts (GW) of hydropower capacity was put into operation last year, including nearly 2 GW of pumped storage, bringing the world’s total installed capacity to 1,292 gigawatts (GW). The East Asia and Pacific region lead the sector by adding 9.2 GW of hydropower installed capacity last year. It was followed by South America (4.9 GW), South and Central Asia (4.0 GW), Europe (2.2 GW), Africa (1.0 GW) and North and Central America (0.6 GW). Forty-eight countries added hydropower capacity in 2018. The countries with the highest individual additions in installed capacity were China (8.5 GW) and Brazil (3.7 GW), followed by Pakistan (2.5 GW), Turkey (1.1 GW) and Angola (0.7 GW). With Brazil reaching 104 GW in installed capacity, the South American nation has now overtaken the United States (103 GW) as the second largest country by hydropower capacity.
Installed hydropower capacity in South and Central Asia grew by almost 4 GW in 2018, continuing the growth trajectory from 2017. India categorised large hydropower projects as renewable energy, which along with supporting measures, signifies a major step forward in national policy. Across Central Asia, there is growing interest in regional interconnections and power markets for hydropower development, including bilateral agreements signed between BBIN countries(Bhutan-Bangladesh-IndiaNepal) in South Asia, and construction of the CASA 1000 cross-border transmission project.
The Government of India has taken the following measures to promote hydro power sector. These would include: 1) Declaring large hydropower projects (LHP) as part of non-solar Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO). As per existing practice, only hydropower projects which are less than 25 MW are categorized as Renewable Energy; 2) Tariff rationalization measures including providing flexibility to the developers to determine tariff by back loading of tariff after increasing project life to 40 years, increasing debt repayment period to 18 years and introducing escalating tariff of 2%; 3) Budgetary support for funding flood moderation component of hydropower projects on case to case basis; 4) Budgetary support for funding cost of enabling infrastructure i.e. roads and bridges on case to case basis as per actual, limited to Rs. 1.5 crore per MW for upto 200 MW projects and Rs. 1.0 crore per MW for above 200 MW projects.
The hydro power major NHPC Ltd has recently has recently taken over 500 MW Teesta VI hydro power project, which it has bagged under corporate insolvency resolution process. The Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) has recently signed a a definitive agreement for implementation of approved resolution plan for takeover and resolution of Lanco Teesta Hydro Power Ltd, which was executing the 500 MW (125 MWx 4) Teesta VI hydro project on Teesta river in Sikkim. NHPC Ltd is in the process of building the largest hydroelectric projects with a capacity of 2,800 MW in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. The 2,800-mw Dibang multipurposeproject was granted pre-investment approval in November 2018. The work is likely to start by October 2019. The completion is targeted in 4-5 years. The project is estimated to cost Rs. 1,600/- crore. NHPC is also implementing 850-mw Ratle hydroelectric project in Jammu and Kashmir on built, operate, own and transfer model. The estimated investment involved is `6,760 crore. To take up further hydro power generation projects, NHPC plans to leverage infrastructure investment trusts or InvITs to monetize 10 of its 22 projects.
NTPC Ltd has signed a pact with the Himachal Pradesh government to set up two hydropower projects totalling 520 megawatts (MW) in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The project comprises Seli and Miyar hydroelectric projects, which would be located in Chenab Basin at the state’s Lahaul and Spiti district. Kiru project is being implemented by Chenab Valley Power Projects Pvt Ltd, a joint venture between NHPC, JKSPDC Ltd and PTC Ltd. Kiru is a run of the river scheme that will be located 25 km upstream of the 390-MW Dulhasti Hydroelectric Project on the Chenab river in the Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir. SJVN Ltd had signed MoUs for implementation of seven Hydro Electric Projects of total capacity of 1958 MW with the Government of Himachal Pradesh.
The hydro power sector needs a big push by the Government of the day, with increased improvement in the overall planning, removing the bottlenecks in the execution, and making the project more attractive and viable for investment in the days to come. The sector holds immense potential and can be effective and reliable to meet the growing peak hour electricity demand.