PMO asks NITI Aayog for report on stalled hydro power projects

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New Delhi, Jan 31: The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has asked NITI Aayog to prepare a report on stalled hydroelectric power projects which have held up large-scale investment as the government aims to provide 24x7 electricity across the country.

"Recently, the PMO asked NITI Aayog to prepare a report on the country's hydro projects which are stalled and investments which has been held up due these projects," a source said.

Niti Aayog

The source added that the government think-tank has also been asked to include the reasons for the projects are getting delayed in its report. NITI Aayog has been asked to prepare the report within three months, the source said.

The proposed hydro capacity addition during the 12th Plan period is 10,897 MW. However, up to December 2015, the actual capacity addition is only 3,651.02 MW which is 33.5 per cent of the proposed capacity addition, according to data by Central Electricity Authority (CEA).

Of the country's total installed capacity of 2,84,303.39 MW as on December 31, 2015, large hydro capacity is 42,623.42 MW and small hydro capacity is 4,147 MW, CEA data said. Hydro power projects are generally categorised in two segments -- small and large hydro.

Hydro projects of up to 25 MW capacities have been categorised as small hydro power projects. Power Ministry is responsible for large hydro projects, while the mandate for the subject small hydro power is given to Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

India has set a target of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, which includes 5 GW of small hydro power. According to PWC's Kameswara Rao, hydro power continues to have strong long-term economic benefits for energy prices, especially as the India market matures to offer ancillary services, besides mainstream power sales.

Unfortunately, he said, development in the Himalayan belt slowed down after 2012 floods as the states put new permits on hold. Further, regulatory approvals for project cost has also taken time, which is understandable given challenges in assessing cost overruns.

"The most promising new growth is from the North East, and the transmission corridor through Bangladesh will help bring private investment to the North East hydro sector, and transmission costs will be lower for buyers. The speed of these developments will depend on how Bangladesh and India collaboration on regional network," he added.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy had earlier said that policy measures have failed to revive the hydro sector and had asked the government to come up with a framework to rejuvenate it, besides ensuring transparency and level playing field for all stakeholders.

Policy measures including Hydro Policy, 2008 have failed to invigorate the hydro sector and the government has not been able to give any firm timeline for completion of projects, the panel had said in a report last month.

It further said nine projects of NHPC Ltd, totalling 4,172 MW, have slipped from the 11th Plan period. Of this slipped capacity, 3,172 MW is programmed for the 12th Plan and the remaining 1,000 MW has further been advanced to the 13th Plan, it added.

PTI

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