Stress on small hydel projects in NE

Assam Tribune, 21 May, 2016
GUWAHATI, May 21 – More emphasis should be laid on the small hydroelectric projects when the power sector of the NE region is considered. Though the figures concerning the State’s renewable energy sector are rosy, the ground reality is not that encouraging. Moreover, the situation in the NE region today is such that procuring power from renewable energy projects outside the region seems to be cheaper compared to generating such power in the region’s States, observed the Chairman of the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC), Naba Kumar Das.

He was chairing a session on the policy and regulatory framework of renewable energy in an advocacy meeting titled ‘Sub-Regional Policy Dialogue on Renewable Energy.’ It was jointly organised by the CUTS International and the Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi (RGVN) here today.

He said that the Government policy will have to be used in different ways. “In this region, we may have to encourage small hydel projects and to some extent bio-mass plants and the high cost in generating power should be taken into consideration,” he added.

Moreover, evacuation of power from the small hydroelectric projects of the region is also a big problem.

Earlier, delivering the keynote address at the inaugural session, State Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia said that solar energy can work as an effective factor in accelerating development. Though the problem of cloudy and rainy days exists in the State, new technology has evolved to overcome these obstacles.

The inaugural session was also addressed by Dharma Ranjan Das, adviser, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India, RGVN Executive Director Dr Amiya Kumar Sarma and Prithviraj Nath of the CUTS International’s Calcutta Resource Centre.

Addressing the second session, KV Eapen, Chairman of the Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd (APDCL), said that the APDCL has proposed to set up solar plants this year with the installed capacity of 130.2 MW. The Assam Power Generation Corporation Ltd (APGCL) has also proposed to set up solar power projects.

But a large number of such projects are awaiting clearance from the Forest Department. On the other hand, marketing has also emerged as a problem in this area. However, the redeeming feature is that the cost of generating solar power has now dropped considerably. “We need to consider this. Whether we can go for small hydro projects also needs to be considered,” he said.

The session was also addressed by Rakesh Kumar, Secretary, Arunachal Pradesh State Electricity Regulatory Commission, and RK Kishor Singh, Chairperson, Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission for Manipur and Mizoram.

Earlier, making a presentation at the first session of the dialogue, Dawa Chhoedron of the Department of Renewable Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan, said that Bhutan annually generates 7,166.3 GWh of power. Of this, the country exports 5,179.3 GWh. The rural electrification coverage in the country is 95.35 per cent and the per capita electricity consumption in the country is 2,600 kWh against a per capita fuel wood consumption (excluding timber) of 0.86 tons.

The primary source of energy in the Himalayan country is biomass (36 per cent), electricity (28 per cent), diesel (16 per cent) and coal (15 per cent).

This session was also addressed by Rubiya Mustafiz, Assistant Director (Technical), Keystone Business Support Company Ltd, Dhaka, Bangladesh and Sayantan Sengupta, Programme Officer, CUTS International.
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