New Delhi, July 9 (UNI) Minister of State for New and Renewable Energy Vilas Muttemwar today underlined the need for early exploitation of the more than 5,400 small hydro power sites (HPSs) identified so far which have a potential to generate 15,000 MW of power in the country.
Addressing a group of independent power producers of the small hydro power sector from all over the country here, he regretted that despite allotment of many sites to private developers, the progress for installation was not up to the desired level.
Reminding them of the recent appeal of the Prime Minister to tap more renewable sources, which were natural and pollution free, to the deficit of power in the country, he said "the ministry is interested to know these factors and give momentum to promote and facilitate small players of this sector." The minister explained that the meeting had been convened to get first hand information about the difficulties and problems being faced by the sector which resulted in non-commissioning or slow progress of the projects.
Small HydroPower Plants are generally up to a capacity of 25 MW which do not require any construction of dam, resettlement of people and large felling of trees. Hence it offers a viable option for generation of power feeding the electricity grid as well as meeting the requirement of power for domestic, small scale and commercial sector in rural and remote areas.
Referring to the ministry's limited mandate, Mr Muttemwar reaffirmed that efforts to promote and facilitate this sector would be maximised. He said model agreements, drafts, regulatory tarrifs and other modalities will be prepared in the ministry and negotiations taken up with individual state governments. He also promised to bring uniformity and more benefits on a par with big hydro power projects.
The developers explained their problems in detail such as sudden change of policies at the Centre as well as state levels, different rules with different state governments, difficulty in acquisition of land at many levels, escalating prices of steel and cement, bank facilities, planning of new grid lines, royalty free period during selling of electricity to other states etc.
Denying any help in acquisition of land for the site at reasonable prices, Mr Deepak Gupta, Secretary, MNRE, reminded them to put forward only reasonable requests. Mr Gupta strongly advised the developers to take people along with them by paying good price at the proposed site. About 30 developers took part in the meeting.
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