India to issue new hydropower policy

India’s power minister says the government is to issue a new hydropower policy in two months, helping to address the nation’s power shortages.

In remarks to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Parliament, Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde reiterated India’s plans to add 78,577 MW of generating capacity by 2012, during its 11th Plan, including 16,553 MW of hydropower. (HNN 4/25/07) He acknowledged the country fell short of the 10th Plan goal to add 41,110 MW, adding only 21,180 MW.

Shinde earlier said the draft hydropower policy was presented to the Cabinet for approval. Its intent is to offer better incentives to private investors to develop hydroelectric projects.

To help the Power Ministry monitor the progress of India’s hydroelectric projects, Shinde formally launched the operation August 10 of Hydropowernet, an Internet-based management information system. The password-access site is to include information on construction activities, generation, and outages.

The system, on the Internet at http://hydropowernet.gov.in, is to provide a platform for data sharing among hydro utilities, the Central Electricity Authority, and the Ministry of Power. The ministry said all major hydro-related organizations have been integrated into Hydropowernet, including central hydro utilities National Hydroelectric Power Corp., Satluj Jal Vidnut Nigam Ltd., Bhakra Beas Management Board, NTPC Hydro Ltd., North Eastern Electric Power Corp. Ltd., and Damodar Valley Corp.

India’s National Electricity Policy wants all of the country’s billion-plus people to have access to power by 2012 and to raise the per capita availability of power by nearly 50 percent, a goal that requires another 100,000 MW of capacity by 2012.

India currently produces about 85,000 MW yet grapples with peak shortages of about 14 per cent.

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