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PM Narendra Modi inaugurates three mega hydro projects in Himachal Pradesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated three hydro-electric projects (HEPs) with a generating capacity of 1,732 MW in Himachal Pradesh.

All the three power projects are equipped with generating equipment supplied and commissioned by state owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).

These three hydro-electric projects are

  • Koldam HEP: It is 4×200 MW capacity project executed by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
  • Parbati HEP: It is Stage-III project with a capacity of 530 MW of National Hydropower Corporation (NHPC).
  • Rampur HEP: It is 412 MW capacity project of Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN).

These three projects will collectively play an important role in boosting the Hydro-power sector of Himachal Pradesh.

BHEL’s contribution

BHEL has a vast experience in hydro-electric projects (HEPs). It has contracted more than 500 hydro-generating sets with a cumulative capacity of more than 29,000 MW of various ratings in India and abroad. BHEL’s hydro installations are in operation in India and also across the world in Bhutan, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Nepal, Tajikistan, Taiwan, Rwanda and Vietnam. Presently, BHEL is executing HEPs of around 3,300 MW in the country in addition to major hydropower projects in DR Congo and Bhutan.

Significance of hydro-projects

Hydropower generated by hydro-projects is renewable source of energy as it uses and not consumes the water for generation of electricity. It does not emit greenhouse gas emission and helps in achieving a low carbon path. India has hydropower potential of around 1,45,000 MW and at 60% load factor, it can meet the demand of around 85, 000 MW. So far, around 26% of Hydropower potential has been exploited in India.

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China operationalises Zam Hydropower Station on Brahmaputra in Tibet

China has operationalised the Zam Hydropower Station built on Brahmaputra River which has raised concerns in India over the likelihood of disrupting water supplies of River.

Key facts

  • The dam is considered to be the world’s highest-altitude hydropower station and largest of its kind.
  • Annually it will produce produces 2.5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.
  • The power station is located in the Gyaca County of Tibet and is considered as the largest in this region.
  • It has six stations to harnesses the rich water resources of Brahmaputra River which is known as Yarlung Zangbo River in Tibet and flows through Tibet into India and later into Bangladesh.

China’s Position: Over India’s fears China mentioned that these projects are run-of-the-river and are not designed to hold water. But India is still concerned over China’s ability and dominance to release water in times of conflict which can pose serious risk of flooding.

Background

  • Earlier in 2013, an Indian Inter-Ministerial Expert Group (IMEG) on the Brahmaputra had called for further monitoring of Chinese dams and considering their impact on the flow of waters to the lower reaches.
  • The IMEG had raised concern over the three dams Zangmu, Jiexu and Jiacha as they are within 25 kms of each other on Brahmaputra River and are located 550 kms from the Indian border.
  • Under an understanding reached in 2013 between both countries, China had agreed to provide more flood data of Brahmaputra River from May to October instead of June to October which was inline with the previous river water agreements signed in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

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