Introspection begins on hydropower policy
SRINAGAR: For the first time, the Jammu and Kashmir government is discussing the viability of generating hydropower.
An empowered committee led by the Chief Secretary has started this discussion by calling for an “approach paper” that will give an overall picture of the hydropower industry in India.
Top sources in the State Power Development Corporation (SPDC), a government-owned company, told Kashmir Reader that the empowered committee wants to lay a roadmap for power generation in the state. “It will reflect the vision of the government. It will give the picture of hydropower generation in India, its rates, market, demand and supply. It will also lay down a roadmap for large power projects,” sources in the SPDC said, adding, “As of now, the policy is focusing on power projects in public-private mode only.”
The approach paper will be part of a new hydropower policy which will be submitted before the same committee, and then before the cabinet for approval. The SPDC had submitted a hydro policy draft in April last year, which was returned to it in December. Sources said the approach paper has to be submitted in two months’ time.
At present, India has a surplus generation of hydropower, which has plummeted its rate. This has led to losses for SPDC as it invested in projects whose generation costs were high. The blunt example is that of the 450-MW Baglihar II. SPDC has failed to lure any buyer for more than a year as its selling cost of per unit of energy, Rs 4.4, is nearly Rs 2 higher than the market rate. The SPDC has finally managed to sell the power at about Rs 4 per unit to the Uttar Pradesh government but for one year only. The SPDC may have to struggle again next year if the state of UP does not continue the contract.
Another example is that of Nimuno Bezgo, and Chutak hydropower projects, which sell energy at Rs 13 per unit. The SPDC also buys power from Dulhasti project at Rs 7, when the available rates for power in the market is around Rs 2 and Rs 4.
According to experts, the new approach paper will be a good step for the SPDC if it is incorporated in the new hydro policy. At present, there is a 2011 policy in vogue, which was formed nine years after the first one was drafted, focusing only on power generation without realising the market requirements.