India’s Uttarakhand state moves to keep small hydropower development local

New policies in India’s northern Uttarakhand state are expected to encourage the development of up to 3,000 MW-worth of hydroelectric potential through the construction of micro and small hydropower plants.

The policies, adopted earlier this week, guarantees local village and small town governances — called “panchayats” — would be involved in the operation of micro hydro plants up to 2 MW in capacity, guaranteeing revenue for the communities.

Larger small hydropower projects will be divided into two categories based on output capacity — 2 MW to 5 MW, and 6 MW to 25 MW.

Plants proposed for the 2 MW to 5 MW category will be reserved solely for development by panchayats and other entities registered within the state. Meanwhile, proposals in the 6 MW to 25 MW category will be openly tendered, though developers must guarantee 26% participation by entities located in Uttarakhand.

“We are very hopeful with the outcome of the policy,” said Surender Kumar, spokesperson for Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat. “The idea is to empower local communities and promote entrepreneurship.”

The mountainous Uttarakhand is already home to a number of large hydropower proposals, including the 330-MW Shrinagar, 146-MW Bogudiyar Sikari Bhyol and 200-MW Mapang Bogudiyar, (1) though officials say the state’s current cumulative micro and small hydel capacity is about 170 MW.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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