“We in the government always looks for grid stability and this cannot be achieved without hydro sector”, said LP Joshi, General Manager (EM Design), THDC India Ltd. On this note, with the aim to highlight the significance of hydropower in propelling India’s power sector, Elets Technomedia in association with THDC India Ltd. organised a webinar under the aegis of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ on August 10.
The webinar saw the participation of esteemed speakers from power sector PSUs including speakers from NHPC Ltd., EESL, UPPCL, WAPCOS and THDC Ltd.
PK Aggarwal, Executive Director (Technical), THDC Ltd. opened the webinar with a formal welcomes address to all the speakers. Aggarwal spoke on the significance of hydropower and the issues that the hydro sector faces and set the tone for discussions.
Addressing a brief on the history of the power sector and its potential in the coming times, Senior Executive Director of WAPCOS Amitabh Tripathi said, “The growth before 1963 and of late, the best sites for the hydropower were chosen. However, later on, we started considering sited in
the upper areas. Most potential lies in the Himalayas as geographical aspects play a major role.” In a supportive statement, Yogesh Kumar, Superintendent Engineer, and Nodal Officer Smart Meter, UPPCL said, “India has a great scope for hydropower sector and we’ve only tapped a small part of it.”
Challenges for hydropower sector & probable solutions
Executive Director, VPHEP at THDC Ltd. RN Singh pointed out that in the hydropower sector there are a lot of benefits that are reaped but are not monetised. Also, addressing a few perks of hydropower, he added, from grid stability, blackout prevention to low carbon emissions are upsides of the sector however “we’re never given credit for this”.
General Manager (Civil) for Corporate Planning Division at NHPC Ltd. VR Shrivastava raised issues of the local population or tribal people residing near the hydropower project sites. He said, “There are always concerns of the native people when it comes to hydropower projects. So we have to make them understand the benefits of the project and get them along.”
“The government authorities need to work on fast-tracking approvals for hydropower projects. This is because the efficiency is dependent on the flow and once the flow reduces less power would be generated,” Kumar pointed out.
Raising concerns related to the process of establishing hydropower projects, Tripathi said, “In the whole project cycle, the construction, structure and related aspects are in focus since the beginning, however, not much goes into planning and brainstorming while DPR preparations. Hence, a deliberation should take place before DPR is cleared.”
As per the deliberations by the PSU leaders, the major issues identified includes lack of monetisation of secondary benefits from the sector, delayed approval processes for the project, and lack of recognition. However, it is to be noted that the Government of India is taking steps to improve the scenario and strengthen the hydropower sector. Also, the PSUs and sector-specific companies have been asked for suggestions for formulating a National Electricity Policy. Elaborating on this, Shrivastava said, “The inherent problems of the hydropower sector needs special attention. Accordingly, we’ve forwarded our suggestions to the Centre for the National Electricity Policy.”
However, speaking of the innovative approach and technology being adopted in the sector, Shrivastava shared about NHPC’s development at its stations. He mentioned, “Automatic generation control systems have been installed at our eight out of 20 power stations.” Adding to this, Abhishek Agarwal, Chief General Manager and Head (IT) at EESL said, “When we talk about the digital transformation it should be top to down approach, not vice versa. We need to stop treating IT officials as service persons and bring in a change in paradigm.”
The officials mentioned that the shortcomings and probable solutions to issues have been chalked out and shared with the Centre to consider for the framing of the National Electricity Policy.
“Though there are issues, the Government of India is taking initiatives to improve the sector and I feel the future is bright for us,” said Singh while concluding his address.