PMO Asks Aayog to Give Re­port on Stalled Hy­dro­elec­tric Power Projects in 3 Months

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The Prime Min­is­ter's Of­fice (PMO) has asked Nitiaayog 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 Nitiaayog to pre­pare a re­port on the coun­try's hy­dro projects which are stalled and in­vest­ments which have been held up due to th­ese projects,” a source said.

The source added that the govern­ment think-tank has also been asked to in­clude the rea­sons for the projects get­ting de­layed in its re­port.

Nitiaayog 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 was only 3,651.02 MW which is 33.5% 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.

The power min­istry is re­spon­si­ble for large hy­dro projects, while the man­date for the 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 In­dian 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. Fur­ther­more, reg­u­la­tory ap­provals or the 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 he North East hy­dro­elec­tric 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, 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.

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