Government will soon come up with a proactive hydro power policy to push stalled projects and explore possibility of extending benefits for renewable sources like wind and solar to hydro projects beyond 25 MW.
The decision was taken here at the state power ministers’ conference chaired by the Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal.
“It is resolved to formulate a pro-active comprehensive hydro power policy to revive the hydro power sector. The policy shall also explore possibility of providing benefits of renewable energy to hydroelectric projects beyond 25 MW,” Goyal said today at a press conference after the meet.
The ones of up to 25 MW capacity have been categorised as small hydro power projects and get benefits as renewable energy projects. Hydro power potential in the country has been estimated at about 150 GW, with 50 GW coming from Arunachal Pradesh alone.
Earlier in March, Planning Minister Rao Inderjit Singh had told the Lok Sabha that the planned hydro power generation capacity addition of 4,371 MW out of a total target of 10,897 MW in the 12th Plan will not be complete.
The meeting also discussed contours of the hydro power policy and sought to work out ways of reviving small (25 MW or less) stalled hydro projects with cooperation from the states in a bid to provide new thrust to the sector.
A committee for this has been set up which will submit its recommendations by September-end.
Goyal further said it was also resolved to electrify all remaining un-electrified villages by December this year except in Left wing extremist areas much ahead of the revised deadline of May 1 of 2017.
Initially, the government had planned to electrify all 18,452 un-electrified villages by May 1 of 2018. States are expected to achieve electrification of 12,300 villages by August 15 of 2016.
Goyal said states have also resolved to achieve 24X7 power for all in their respective states by March 2019, three years ahead of the original deadline of 2022.
He was of the view that there is need to increase consumption and not hike power tariff to make the sector viable.
Elaborating benefits of the UDAY scheme meant for revival of discoms, Goyal pegged the savings at Rs 1.8 lakh crore every month “while discoms were losing Rs 60,000 crore every year”.
The states have also resolved to submit feeder data in an appropriate format to the Power Finance Corporation, the Rural Electrification Corporation and the National Informatics Centre to implement 11-KV feeder monitoring on the national power portal by July. The move is expected to help monitor consumption pattern and quality of power supply.
The Power Ministry said the government will support IT extension in 2,600 additional towns under the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) for states and UTs, which will complete execution of 11 KV feeder monitoring within six months.
The states have also decided to henceforth procure only smart meters and submit their revised proposal to the Centre by month-end.
Earlier, the government had planned to replace old meters with smart ones for consumers using 500 units or more every month by 2017 and later it was decided to provide smart meters to consumers with 200 units of consumption.
It was also decided to ensure implementation and put in place an effective ecosystem to report power theft on toll-free number 1912.