Power-starved Meghalaya has decided to develop a chain of small hydro projects to meet the power requirements in this mountainous state, an official said Sunday.
“We have identified 44 river basins across the state for developing small hydro power projects to generate 483.70 mega watt (MW) power,” additional chief secretary in-charge Power, B.K.Dev Varma told Nagaland Post.
Meghalaya, once a power surplus state presently generates only 186.70 MW and has a share of 200 MW from central utilities.
Till a decade ago, Meghalaya generated surplus power and sold it to neighbouring states. But today, the state shells out about Rs.20 crore for purchasing power every month.
The situation may not improve in the near future as many of the hydel power projects under construction are running behind schedule. Of the 44 basins, Varma said the Central Electricity Authority has identified 31 sites for exploration and execution of eco-friendly small hydro projects.
He said the Small Hydro Division of the state-owned Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited is conducting surveys and execution of small hydro projects upto the capacity of 25 MW as per guidelines of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
Stating that Meghalaya has a high potential for development of small hydro projects, Varma said, three projects -- Umtrew (4x2.8 MW), Umïam Stage–II (1.5 MW) and Lakhroh (1.5 MW) -- are under execution.
However, the renovation of the Sonapani Mini Hydel Project (1.5 MW) which has been lying defunct since 1984 has been completed, the official said.
“With the present crisis of power shortage in the State and long gestation periods in execution of medium and major hydro electric projects, it is desirable to go in for the exploration and execution of eco-friendly small hydro projects to tide over the power shortage in the State,” Varma said.
He said the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Rural Electrification Corporation and North Eastern Council will fund these small hydro power projects.