Small and mini hydel projects – Standing Committee on Energy – Sixteenth Report (2010-2011)

The report presents the observations and recommendations of the Standing Committee on Energy on small and mini hydel projects.

 The Committee took evidence of the representatives of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in January, 2011.

One of the responsibilities entrusted to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is to deal with the micro/mini/small hydropower plants up to 25 MW capacity. Administrative responsibility of policy/planning of hydro-plants over 25 MW capacity is the responsibility of the Ministry of Power.

The Committee made the following broad points –

  • The estimated potential for power generation in the country from small/mini/hydel projects is 15,380 MW from 5718 identified sites.
  • Small hydro power projects have reached commercial stage. The projects are normally economically viable and private sector has started showing interest in investing in the Small Hydro Power (SHP) Projects. The Ministry has been providing Central Financial Assistance (CFA) to State Governments and private sector to set up small/mini hydro projects. The Ministry is also organizing technical support towards survey and investigation, preparation of DPRs, project monitoring and training through Alternate Hydro Energy Center (AHEC), IIT, Roorkee.
  • Small hydel projects normally do not encounter the problems associated with large hydel projects of deforestation and resettlement. The projects have potential to meet power requirements of remote and isolated areas. These factors make small hydels one of the most attractive renewable source of grid quality power generation.
  • As per the Electricity Act, 2003, the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) have been empowered to decide on various components of the policy such as tariff, wheeling, banking and third party sale for grid interactive renewable energy based power projects, in the respective States. The Policy for Small Hydro Power (SHP) and private sector participation therein, is governed by the Electricity Act, 2003; the National Electricity Policy, 2005; and Tariff Policy, 2006 announced by the Government of India.
  • According to the MNRE, a series of steps have been taken to promote development of SHP, in a planned manner and improve reliability and quality of the projects. By giving various physical and financial incentives, investments have been attracted in commercial SHP projects apart from subsidizing State Governments to set up small hydro projects.
  • The Ministry is giving special emphasis to promote use of new and efficient designs of water mills for mechanical applications as well as electricity generation and setting up of micro hydel projects upto 100 KW for remote village electrification. These projects are taken up with the involvement of local organizations such as the Water Mills Associations, Cooperative Societies, registered NGOs, Village Energy Cooperatives, and State Nodal Agencies.
  • Since 1993-94, the thrust of the Ministry’s SHP programme has reportedly been deployment of SHP projects through private sector investments. Now a large part of capacity addition is being achieved through private investment. State Nodal Agencies provide assistance for obtaining necessary clearances, in allotment of land and potential sites.

The report is structured as follows –

  • Introductory
  • Small/Mini Hydel Potential
  • 11th Five Year Plan Performance
  • Micro Hydel Projects and Water Mills
  • Financial Assistance Schemes
  • Policies and Issues related with development of SHP Projects
  • Electrification/Illumination of Border Villages of Arunachal Pradesh
  • Technical Institutions for Development of Small Hydro Power
  • Observations/Recommendations of the Committee

Download the report here -

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