India Set to Inaugurate $2.6 Billion Hydropower Project in Northeast
With power demand rising in the country at a fast pace, India is constructing a slew of mega hydropower projects, including in border areas of its Northeast region.
India is on the verge of opening a $2.6 billion hydropower project in its northeastern states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, a move that would give a big boost to New Delhi's efforts in transitioning from fossil fuels to green energy.
After being launched in 2003, the project took over 20 years to be built by the state-run National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) after facing protests from environmental groups over concerns of ecological damage to local surroundings.
The development was confirmed by NHPC's finance director Rajendra Prasad Goyal on Tuesday.
"We need to get nearly 40 approvals from different departments before we start building a hydropower project. All the scrutiny should be done at this stage," Goyal said while explaining the reasons behind the delay in the project. "Any stoppages after the construction has begun is problematic."
India's Hydropower Projects
Trial runs on the Subansiri Lower project as it is called by state authorities are set to commence in July before the scheduled commissioning of its first unit in December 2023. However, the entire project comprising eight units will only become functional at the end of next year.
Hydropower is crucial to India's energy security given that electricity demand is growing across the country, particularly in cities as more and more young people join the workforce. Besides, hydropower is important for stabilizing the grid, considering it can prevent fluctuations in power supply during peak hours.
The 2-gigawatt plant isn't the largest hydropower project that is under construction in India.
In February, the cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the 2.9-gigawatt Dibang project on the Dibang River in Arunachal Pradesh. As per government estimates, this hydropower project would take nine years to be completed.