KERALA

`Small hydel projects ideal for State'

KOZHIKODE Nov. 13. Small hydro-power projects are free from all controversies that `hound' large hydel projects such as submergence of forests, siltation of reservoirs, relocation of people and seismological threats. On the other hand, they are known for their low cost and short gestation period.

Speaking at a seminar on `small hydro-power technology and its development', organised by the Electrical Engineering Association and the National Institute of Technology Calicut (NITC) here recently, S. Ashok, professor, Electrical Engineering Department, said the State had a good potential for small hydel projects.

The State has 41 West-flowing rivers and three East-flowing rivers. Its average annual rainfall of 3,500 cm is suitable for small hydro-power projects. The State has the potential to develop as many as 167 small hydel projects (up to three MW), with a total capacity of 200 MW. This can generate 630 million units of energy. The State has already commissioned small hydel projects with a total capacity of 40.5 MW.

Small hydel projects provide `clean' and renewable energy round the clock. They are considered `social friendly', as the projects require less land and hence entail no eviction of local people. They are eco-friendly as there is no environmental impact and no deforestation. A small hydel project could take care of peak demands as these require only less warming period and the ramp rate of taking load is very fast (20MW/min), Dr. Ashok said in a paper.

They are viable because of their simple technology, short lead time and modest investment compared to the wind and solar versions.

Another vital aspect is that small hydro-electric projects have the potential to provide energy in remote and hilly areas where extension of grid system is uneconomical.