HomeEconomyHydroelectric Power Projects Set to Boost India's Renewable Energy Capacity

Hydroelectric Power Projects Set to Boost India’s Renewable Energy Capacity

In a bid to bolster its renewable energy infrastructure, India is witnessing significant strides in the development of hydroelectric power projects. With an aggregate capacity of 15 GW currently under construction across the country, the hydro sector is poised for substantial growth, aiming to increase its capacity from 42 GW to 67 GW by 2031-32.

The Indian Meteorological Department’s prediction of higher rainfall in the upcoming financial year has added impetus to this expansion. Notably, hydropower projects located in the Himalayan region stand to benefit from increased snowmelt contributions, particularly as rising temperatures escalate snowmelt rates.

Moreover, amidst ongoing energy transitions, the development of Pumped Storage Projects (PSPs) is gaining traction. Often referred to as ‘the Water Battery’, PSPs offer crucial inertia and balancing power to the grid, complementing modern clean energy systems. Currently, 2.7 GW of PSP capacity is under construction, with an additional 50 GW in various stages of development, projected to increase to around 55 GW by 2031-32.

However, the hydroelectric sector faced challenges in 2023-24, witnessing a decline in power generation compared to the previous year. While lower rainfall in the southern region contributed to this decline, natural disasters severely impacted hydro projects in the northern and eastern regions. Flash floods in Himachal Pradesh and the Eastern region disrupted operations, underscoring the vulnerability of hydro infrastructure to climatic events.

Despite these setbacks, the government remains optimistic about the sector’s potential for replenishment. The IMD’s forecast of a favorable monsoon in FY 2024-25 offers hope for reservoir capacity restoration, following the previous year’s scarce rainfall.

Hydroelectric power plays a pivotal role in India’s energy landscape, providing essential peaking support to the electricity grid and enhancing its reliability and resilience. However, challenges such as natural calamities and contractual disputes have impeded the sector’s growth in recent years.

Aligned with its commitments under the COP Paris agreement, India is actively pursuing hydro power development to meet its ambitious targets for emissions reduction and renewable energy adoption. The country’s renewable energy capacity has witnessed significant growth, with non-fossil-based installed capacity exceeding 40% of the total electricity capacity, ahead of schedule.

India’s steadfast commitment to renewable energy is evident in its upgraded Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and ambitious targets for renewable energy capacity expansion. With robust growth in renewable energy generation and installed capacity, India is poised to emerge as a global leader in sustainable energy production, driving the transition towards a low-carbon future.

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