After huge public protests stalled development of some hydro power projects, the State government has changed its strategy by announcing to establish hydro power projects with lesser capacity.

Addressing a conference on hydro power sector here on Thursday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “there are about 12 sites where medium and major hydro power projects are feasible with a capacity of about 2000 MW. In order to minimise displacement and submergence of forest and habitations, the government is planning to take up projects with lesser capacity.” “We have identified such projects and started working on them. There is huge potentiality for developing small hydro electric power projects as run off the river projects in several locations of the State,” Mr. Patnaik added.

He maintained, “Development of such hydro power sources does not involve much of submergence and displacement. Besides, these projects can harness power within a period of 18-30 months.” Chief Minister said of late, the ratio of Hydro Power in the over mix of power is reducing because the demand for power is ever increasing and development of hydro power resources have not been possible to the desirable extent.

“In order to have a positive power mix of hydro and thermal sources, government is now giving more emphasis on development of more hydro power sources, of course without compromising environmental adverse impact including submergence and displacement,” Mr. Patnaik informed. It is to be noted Sindhol hydropower projects which were planned in western Odisha had evoked sharp public reactions. Subsequently, the government had to postpone the projects.

Besides, the State government has decided to set up dedicated public sector company - Green Energy Development Corporation – in order to provide focused attention in developing small hydro power potentialities of the State. That apart, this organisation will also develop other renewable energy sources in the State including solar and wind energy.