Mescom says there is no information about the latest plans

The Independent Power Producers (IPPs) have come forward to set up five more mini hydro electric projects in Belthangady taluk in Dakshina Kannada, in addition to the existing four projects there, according to official sources.

The proposed projects are awaiting the approval of the State Government, sources told The Hindu.

The proposed projects would be built across the tributaries of the Netravati, they said.

Of the seven existing hydel projects in the district, which have an installed capacity of 111 MW, the four projects in the taluk alone have an installed capacity of 33 MW, sources said.

S. Sumanth, Managing Director, Mangalore Electricity Supply Company Ltd, said that the Mescom had no knowledge about the new projects. Narayana Bhide, a promoter of hydel project at Charmadi, said that the taluk had the potential to tap an additional 100 MW energy from new projects.

Mr. Bhide said that the Charmadi project by the Trinetra Energy Conversion Inc., in which he is a promoter, produced 4.5 MW energy. The installed capacity of other hydel projects in the taluk at Aniyoor, Nidle and Dondole stood at 6 MW, 9 MW and 13.5 MW, respectively.

The other projects in the district at Neerukatte (near Uppinangady), Bobba (near Moodbidri) and Shamboor (near Bantwal) have an installed capacity of 15 MW, 15 MW and 48 MW, he said.

K. Somnath Nayak, president, Nagarika Seva Trust, a non-governmental organisation at Guruvayanakere, said that initially the trust supported setting up of mini hydel projects in the district, considering the dangers involved in coal-based projects. But now it is opposed to any development projects in the Western Ghats. Series of hydel projects in Western Ghats would destroy more forests and ecology. Priority should be given to plug the transmission loss in the existing power supply networks, he said.

Mr. Bhide said that it was not proper for the detractors to have pre-conceived notions against hydel projects. It is possible for new IPPs to use existing power corridors to supply energy to the grid. Hydel projects reduce demand from coal power in rainy season. Thus burning of coal could be saved. The IPPs are bound to plant saplings for trees they have cut, he said. It is a sustainable way of producing green energy, he said.

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