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Hydro Power

India is blessed with a rich hydropower potential. In the exploitable potential terms, India ranks fifth in the world. Less than 25% of the potential has been developed as of now. A large hydro has four main advantages.

?          It is a source of green energy.

?          It has low variable cost.

?          It is grid friendly.

?          It can also can sub serve other purposes by irrigation, flood control, etc.

India has 3 major rivers: the Indus, the Brahmaputra, and the Ganga. It also has three major river systems?central Indian, west flowing rivers of south India, and east flowing rivers of south India having a total of 48 river basins. The total potential from these river basins is 600TWh (TerraWatt Hours) of electricity.

Hydroelectric projects can be classified on the basis of purpose, hydraulic features, capacity, head, constructional features, mode of operation, etc. The main types are

1)       ROR (Run of River) There are not large reservoirs; a part of water flow is diverted to the plant which is adjacent to the river. After generation the flow is diverted back to the main flow through the tail race. This type of hydro plants requires a diversion dam and has unregulated water flow.

2)       Dam Storage In these types of hydro plants, large reservoirs are created by the construction a sizeable dam across the river and the plants is situated at the toe of the dam. Here, water could be regulated to generate electricity depending upon the demand

3)       Pumped Storage These types of plants have two reservoirs, one at the upstream of the power plant and one at the downstream. When there is low peak demand, the water from the reservoir situated downstream is pumped back to the upstream reservoir.

As of today, the total identified hydro potential is 1 48 701 MW(mega watt). According to the list of hydro electric projects in the country, a total of 29 572 MW?19.9% of the total?has been harnessed and 13 286 MW is under construction. A total of 3 660 MW of pumped storage schemes have also been developed.

Various initiatives for accelerated development have been taken up by the central government to harness the hydro potential in India. Some of these are

?          Hydro Power Policy (1998)

?          50 000 MW initiative

?          Preparation of viable models for private sector participation

?          Ranking of projects

?          R&M up gradation and life extension programmes

?          Facilitation for trading and co-operation with other countries

?          Execution of projects with inter state aspects by Central Public Sector Unit?s

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