Small Hydro power plants
Small hydro power (SHP) has assumed capacity of 15,386 MW of electricity in India. The SHP plants are divided into three categories micro (100 kW or less) mini (100 kW to 2 MW) and small (2MW to 25 MW). Ministry of New and Renewables Energy (MNRE) is charged with the responsibility of developing hydro power plants upto to 25 megatwatts. As most of the potential lies in inaccessible Himalayan region (24 per cent of the total potential in just four states – Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh) it can act as a local power source and can help the government save on costly supply lines to provide energy to people in this region. MNRE plans to develop 7500 MW in next 10 years with the help of capital subsidies and preferential tariffs.
During the decade of 1990 small hydro power plants were exclusively run by the state or the central governments. Since the dawn of new century private players have started making their presence felt. Today 938 projects are in various stages of development with a total installed capacity of 2556 megawatt (Table 3). Right now the nation is witnessing a capacity addition of 300 MW per year with private sector accounting for 70 per cent of the entire initiative. During the Ninth Plan (2002-2006) 1,438 MW of small hydro capacity was installed but this progress was halted during the 10th Plan (2002-2007) when only 520 MW could be added to the existing capacity. In the ongoing 11th Plan government has again aimed high and plans to install 1400 MW of capacity. Karnataka with 695 MW of installed capacity has already utilised 93 per cent of its known small hydro potential. Himachal on the other hand has been able to utilize only 20 per cent of it and generates only 440 MW.