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India to add 34.5 GW of hydroelectric capacity in 10 years

A hydro-power plant in Himachal Pradesh

India will set a target of adding 34.5 GW of hydro-power generation capacity in the next ten years, according to power ministry sources.

“The target for the 13th plan has been set at 13.31 GW and that for the 14th plan will be 21.15 GW,” said a power ministry official.

This will take India’s total hydro-power capacity from 44.4 GW at present to nearly 79 GW by the end of 2027.

MAKING AMENDS

India badly missed its hydro-power targets during the 12th plan period, which will end in nine days.

Against a targeted addition of 10.9 GW of hydro-power generation capacity in the five years ending this month, the actual achievement is around 4 GW.

Hydro-power is crucial to meeting India’s power needs while remaining compliant with its environmental goals.

During the 12th period, nearly 80% of incremental power production has come from coal-based plants, which is not good news for the environment.

It is expected that the country will go easy on the addition of coal-based power in the future, and shift to more environmentally benign forms of energy like hydro-power and solar.

Much of the miss during the 12th plan period happened because of poor participation from private-sector players in hydro-power.

However, nearly 13 GW of hydro projects are already at various of development — including many with private participation — and India just needs complete these projects over the next five years to meet its target for the next five years (see chart).

Some of the projects, however, are facing opposition from environmental groups for threatening habitats, while some have run into funding and legal problems.

Meanwhile, solar is expected to pick up some of the slack, adding an incremental 90 GW of capacity over the next five years, compared to total installed capacity of around 10 GW at present.

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