Hydro Power

As per CEA report on monthly generation capacity for August 2011, against the present installed generating capacity of 181558 MW, the share of hydro with 38206 MW capacity is only 21 %. Thermal (including gas and diesel) accounts for the maximum share of 65.2% with 118409 MW.
India is endowed with a vast hydropower potential. As per the annual report 2007-08 of CEA, hydro potential in India has been estimated at about 148,000 MW. Only 25% of this potential is under operation and the balance 75% is yet to be tapped. About 65% of India’s total installed capacity is thermal-based. However expansion of this energy source is encountering difficulties because of the burden it places on the infrastructure for supply (mines) and transportation (railways) of coal.
The energy requirement of the country in 2007-08 was 739,345 GWh of which only 666,007 GWh were available, leaving a shortfall of 9.9%. In the same period, peaking requirement was 108,866 MW, of which peak of only 90,793MW could be met leaving a shortage of 16.6%.
Most of the regions of the country are suffering from power shortages leading to irregular and unreliable supply. The problem becomes acute during peak hours. Based on the projections made in the 16th Electric Power Survey (2000), an additional generating capacity of over 100,000 MW needs to be added to ensure “Power on Demand” by 2012. This, in effect, means doubling the existing capacity which has been created in 55 years from independence to 2002 in 10 years from 2002 to 2012. Not only has the capacity to be added but also the present hydro-thermal imbalance of 25:75 has to be corrected and brought to 40:60 to meet the peak load requirements, achieve frequency and voltage stability and provide system operating flexibility under changing seasonal and diurnal load pattern. For achieving a 40:60 hydro thermal ratio in an installed capacity of around 200,000 MW the total requirement of hydro capacity will be 80,000 MW which means that 42,000 MW additional hydro capacity has to be created in the next 10 years.
Beside the proper hydro- thermal balance, with increasing fossil fuel prices and increasing environmental concerns the policy makers are insisting on increasing the dependence on hydro power and other forms of renewable energy. Hydro power in particular has a vast unexploited potential and is a cleaner source of electricity in long run.
The ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources provides Capital Subsidy through financial institutions with an objective to improve economic viability of the SHP. The subsidy is intended for making repayments of the term loan provided to the developer of an SHP project by a financial institution. The subsidy will be released after commissioning & commercial generation from the project, and is offered to a tune of Rs 2.0 Crores per MW for the first MW and Rs 30 Lacs for each additional MW.
Power sale can be done to the State Electricity Board, or Interstate or to third party through merchant sale. For the first option, no wheeling charges are applicable; however for the other two, wheeling charges would be applicable.
  • PPA signed for the entire duration of the concession period.
  • The developer may supply power to the Board at the interconnection point.
  • Board purchases power at a Tariff approved by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.
  • Deemed generation provision is there in most of the states in case of major issues in grid availability.
  • Small hydro projects are also eligible for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) benefit under UNFCCC. In India, MNRE has defined projects upto 25 MW as small Hydro projects (SHP).
  • Also, SHPs are eligible for Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) benefit as per CERC guidelines.
  • SHPs are also eligible for Income Tax deduction under Sec 80 (I) A of IT Act, 1961
In view of the growth potential as well as its environment friendliness, RPP Group has identified Hydropower as a priority sector. Although RPP Group has taken up till now, only small hydro projects of less than 25 MW capacities, however, we intend to take up projects upto 100 MW capacity which are environment friendly and involve minimum submergence and R&R issues. RPP Group has an open policy and is pursuing opportunities in the sector in North eastern States like Arunachal Pradesh. RPP Group is also looking at opportunities available in the peninsular / Southern states where Canal Based and Dam based projects are available, which have a shorter gestation period.
By 2018, RPP Group aspires to have 30 MW of operating Hydro projects and have a pipeline of 100 MW of projects under construction/development.


Types Of Hydro Power Projects

Hydroelectric power stations capture the energy in flowing water to produce electricity. The power stations are comprised of turbine generators and the structures necessary to channel and regulate the flow of water to the turbines.

Water flows from high points to low points because of the force of the gravity. Hydroelectric power systems capture some of the energy embodied in the flow of water and convert it into electrical energy. The power available in the flow of water in a given interval depends on two factors: the vertical distance that the water “ falls “ over the interval, measured in feet or meters, and the volume of flow of water, measured in cubic feet or cubic meters per second (cumecs).

If a dam is constructed to block the flow of water, a river or stream may be channelised through turbines connected to electric generators to produce power. The power produced by hydroelectric system is the product of three parmeters: the distance of water ‘ falls ‘ from the intake to the outlet, the volume of flow of water, and the efficiency of the turbine / generator equipment.”

Hydroelectric plants can be divided into following categories:

  1. Run of the river schemes
  2. Weekly pondage schemes
  3. Monthly reservoir based schemes
  4. Seasonal plants
  5. Carry over reservoir schemes
  6. Micro and mini plants
  7. Major plants

Hydroelectric plants can be divided into following categories:

  1. Run of the river schemes
  2. Weekly pondage schemes
  3. Monthly reservoir based schemes
  4. Seasonal plants
  5. Carry over reservoir schemes
  6. Micro and mini plants
  7. Major plants
Advantages of run of river schemes

In Run of the River Hydroelectric plants, energy from running water in the rivers is tapped and converted into electricity. Since the energy is directly tapped from the flowing water, these plants need minimal construction, and submerge least area. Normally a small barrage is built and if there is a local head, it is exploited. Such plants can be put in canals also. Many plants can be put up in a river. These plants normally do not need any storage area for reservoirs. They are ecologically sound. China has tapped its river water’s energy potential through a series of such plants. In our country, we have huge potential for generating energy through such run of the river / streams/ canal schemes. Even though these plants are seasonal, a well-developed grid can absorb the seasonality through a proper load generation balance.


Hydro-Power is a renewable, economical, non-polluting and environmentally benign source of energy. Hydro-Power stations have the inherent ability for instantaneous starting, stopping, load variations, etc. and help in improving the reliability of power systems. There is no fuel cost during the life of the project as hydropower generation is a non-consumptive use of water. The benefits of hydropower as a clean, environment friendly and economically attractive source of energy have been sufficiently recognized. The need for it’s accelerated development also arises from its capacity of enhanced system reliability and economics of utilization of resources. Environmental impacts of Hydro-Power plants are very different from those of fossil fuel power plants.

Some of the advantages of Hydro-electric power plants are enumerated below:

  • A renewable source of energy – saves scarce fuel reserves.
  • Non-polluting and hence environment friendly.
  • Long life – The first hydro project completed in 1897 is still in operation at Darjeeling is still in operation.
  • Cost of generation, operation and maintenance is lower than the other sources of energy.
  • Ability to start and stop quickly and instantaneous load acceptance/rejection makes it suitable to meet peak demand and for enhancing system reliability and stability.
  • Cost of generation is free from inflationary effects after the initial installation.
  • Storage based hydro schemes often provide attendant benefits of irrigation, flood control, drinking water supply, navigation, recreation, tourism, pisciculture etc.
  • Being located in remote regions leads to development of interior backward areas. (Education, medical, road communication, telecommunication etc.)