Rich in resources, J&K exploits just 16% of hydro-power potential despite growing demand

Rich in resources, J&K exploits just 16% of hydro-power potential despite growing demand
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Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir has exploited only about 16 per cent of the estimated 20,000 MW of hydro-power potential even as the energy demand has been growing gradually creating a wider demand-supply gap, the state economic survey 2017 said.
The estimated hydro-power potential of Jammu and Kashmir is 20,000 Megawatts (MW), of which about 16,475 MW have been identified.
“This comprises 11,283 MW in Chenab basin, 3,084 MW in Jhelum basin, 500 MW in Ravi Basin and 1608 MW in Indus basin. Only 3,263.46 MW, about 20 per cent of the identified potential of 16,475 MW and only about 16 per cent of the estimated potential of 20,000 MW has been exploited until now which comprises 1,211.96 MW in the state sector, 2,009 MW in central sector and 42.5 MW in private sector, the report said.
However, a senior official of Power Development Department (PDD) said the department is committed to exploiting the available hydro potential to an optimum level to meet the growing demand.
Various reforms are underway at the level of the state government and the Centre for making the power sector more efficient and more competitive. While there is some progress, but the power shortage continues to haunt the state and is a major constraint for the development of the industry, the official said.
He said the biggest problem is on the distribution front as Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT-C) losses of the state are on the higher side.
The main reasons for such high losses are technical as well as commercial. To minimize losses, the system needs up-gradation and improvements, especially in existing outdated distribution network. However, with the efforts of the government the AT-C losses, which were estimated at 61.30 per cent in 2014-15 were reduced to 58.82 per cent in 2015-16. This has been posing a major challenge to the fiscal health of the state, he said.
“Further, transmission and distribution network is being augmented as well as strengthened and various measures are underway to overcome the AT-C losses through the implementation of the various Central schemes like R-APDRP, IPDS etc. The reforms under power sector also include creation of new transmission corridors on a fast-track basis, creation of smart grid infrastructure and promotion of joint ventures under participatory mode, he said.
The economic survey report of 2017 says the energy demand in Jammu and Kashmir has gradually increased by about two to three per cent annually up to the financial year 2015-16.
During the financial year 2016-17, the energy demand has increased by 1.6 per cent over the previous year. However, against the energy requirement of 18,487.59 MUs, the state has met a restricted energy demand of 15,667.449 MUs, thereby reducing the energy deficit from 21.83 per cent in 2015-16 to 15.25 per cent in 2016-17, the report said.
The official said revenue realization is another important factor.
Though there is a gradual increase in the recovery of tariff since 2002-03, yet the gap between the targets and actual revenue realized has not been bridged. In the year 2016-17, the revenue target was Rs 3860.36 crore, out of which the pure revenue was Rs 1,715.32 crore and along with miscellaneous revenue and electricity duty, the total revenue realized was Rs 1877.72 crore, which is 48.64 per cent only, he said.
The official said in order to make the state self-sufficient in power, the way forward is to establish new generation capacity in a time-bound manner, provisioning of long-term finance arrangements, exploitation of available hydro and solar potential, creation of inter and intra-state transmission system for evacuation of power, efficient use consumer awareness and to devise investor-friendly investment policy for public investment in PPP mode.