State shifts focus to small hydro-electric projects

In the face of public resistance against major hydroelectric projects including Athirappilly, the government is gradually shifting its focus to micro-level projects that could contribute its mite to the surging energy requirements of the State.

The recent Cabinet decision to accord clearance for 20 independent power projects with a combined installed capacity of about 60 MW and individually ranging between 0.15 MW and 11 MW is being cited as a change in the power generation mode that would inspire more private entrepreneurs as well as local self-government institutions to experiment with such initiatives.

The government decision complements the Plan project formulation of local self-government institutions for the current year which mandates local bodies to tap all available sources for power generation, with a special thrust on non-conventional sources.

In line with national policy

Power sector sources told The Hindu that the decision is in line with the national policy to generate 1,75,000 MW renewable energy by 2022.

Already the State is generating 110 MW from solar, 50 MW from wind and about 200 MW from small hydel projects.

On resolving to go for an investment and industrial promotion overdrive, along with infrastructural facilities, the State would have to ensure that it has the capacity to meet the power requirements of entrepreneurs too. On failing to become self-sufficient in power supply, the industrialisation and investment promotion drives would fall flat.

While local bodies are pursuing their own initiatives in the conventional and non-conventional sectors, the 20 projects approved by the Cabinet would come up in build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) mode through competitive bidding for a tenure of 30 years.

The power generated by these projects would be given to the Kerala State Electricity Board on the basis of a power purchase agreement at the tariff fixed by the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission. The State Hydro Electric Power Evaluation Committee had also recommended to accord conditional clearance for the projects.

The 20 companies would initially supply power at the average pooled purchase price of the KSEB and then fixed by the KSERC as part of the power purchase agreement terms.

But in future small hydro projects would be awarded only on the basis of tariff based bidding, sources said.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 10:02:11 PM |

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