Power Ministry mulls fund to finance hydro projects


The power ministry plans to create a fund to provide long-term finances to hydropower developers, and aims to play an active role in resolving state level sues that are blocking such projects.

“Hydropower did not get the desired attention as concerned ministries and departments were working in silos, and problems with states and central authorities could be resolved.

However, the new government is working in tandem as a team and we are hopeful to resolve pending issues to give conducive environment to hydropower sector,” power, coal and renewable energy minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday.

He said one of his first projects Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated was the 240 MW Uri-II project, demonstrating his government’s commitment towards hydropower.

Modi is expected to inaugurate one more hydroelectric project at Ladakh next week. India has a potential to build 1,48,000 MW of hydropower generation capacity. However, India could add only 5,400 MW of capacity during 11th Five Year Plan against its target to commission 16,500 MW of projects, partly due to procedural hurdles and partly because of faulty planning.

India has around 36,000 MW of installed hydropower capacity. About 13,000 mw of additional capacity is under construction. At a conference on hydropower organized by FICCI, Goyal said India can surpass its target of generating 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 by promoting hydropower.

He said that in line with budget’s promise to offer longer term finance to infrastructure projects, ministry of power plans to set up a fund or set up a body to finance to hydropower projects.

Goyal promised support for private investment in hydropower but told developers that his ministry will not push Power Finance Corporation or Rural Electricity Corporation to finance specific projects.

“It is the job of investors to determine the economic viability of the project and convince the lenders,” said Goyal. Goyal said he hoped differences between Arunachal Pradesh and Assam would be resolved to put 2,000 MW Lower Subansiri Hydro Power Project on track.

Next month, he will meet a delegation from Assam to discuss their concerns as the cost of the delayed project is going up significantly.

Source: Economic Times

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