September 13, 2008 :Smt. Asha Swaroop, Chief Secretary said that the Government has signed 259 MOUs with an aggregate capacity of 829.35 MW for projects upto 5 MW with Independent Power Producers (IPPs). She said that being a hydro rich state, Himachal Pradesh has the potential in feeding the power deficient northern grid in particular and other grids of the country in general. She was presiding over the first Conference on Hydro Power Policy at HIPA, Shimla today organized by HIMURJA (H.P. Energy Development Agency).
She said that the year 2008 could be called the centennial year of H.P. Hydro, as Bhuri Singh Power House in Chamba district and Chaba in Shimla district were commissioned in 1908 in the 20th century and it was a matter of great pride that these are still in operation after a century.
Chief Secretary said that over next five years the government aims to ensure that installed capacity of the State reaches 12000 MW through medium and large projects and another 500 MW would be realized through small hydro projects by the end of 2012.
She said that the vision of the government was to make Himachal Pradesh, a Power State by harnessing the Hydel potential spread across the whole territory of the State. Himachal has a potential of 21,000 MW in total, out of which nearly 2,000 MW has been assessed in the category of small hydel projects with a capacity upto 25 MW. Total potential of 6255 MW has been harnessed through larger projects and 51.15 MW capacity has been realized through small hydro projects up to 5 MW capacity, she added.
Chief Secretary said that being environment friendly, small hydro electric project involving low running costs are becoming increasingly competitive with thermal, diesel or gas based generation power projects. She said that these projects are bringing a number of secondary benefits to the area i.e. opening up of hinterland, economic growth of small villages and towns, new business opportunities, availability of educational, health and transport services as well as availability of employment to the local population.
She hoped that during the conference valuable suggestions of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) would be looked into by the government and based on the feedback from this conference, the policy changes would be framed.
Chief Secretary said that next conference on Hydro Power Policy would be organized in November, 2008.
Earlier, addressing the conference Shri Ajay Mittal, Principal Secretary, Power exhorted the IPPs to harness the power potential in the interest of the State and in the interest of the people of the State. He said that this conference would be an effective platform for IPPs to present problems and difficulties during the whole process of execution of projects and solutions would be sort out to redress their problems. Suggestions for certain modifications in present hydro policy would be welcomed, which would definitely provide helping hand in modifying the policy, he added.
Dr. Ajay Bhandari, Chief Executive Officer, HIMURJA welcomed the Chief Guest and others. He briefed about the activities of HIMURJA and he also made a presentation of Hydro Policy.
About 150 IPPs and representatives of Forest, IPH, Fisheries, Land Acquisition, PCB, H.P.PWD and Gram Panchayats are participating in the conference.
Shri A.J.V. Prasad, Director, HIPA, Shri J.C. Sharma, Member Finance HPSEB-cum-Managing Director, Himachal Transmission Corporation, Shri Arun Sharma, Member Projects, HPSEB, Shri CRB Lalit, Advisor PHD Chamber, Shimla, Shri N.P. Singh, Advisor, Small Hydro Projects, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Govt. of India, Shri A.K. Chopra, Director, Small Hydro Projects, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Govt. of India, Shri J.R. Katwal, Director, Information and Public Relations were also present on this occasion among others.