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PIB Summary for UPSC

6-April-2024

1. Hydroelectric power projects with aggregate capacity of 15 GW under construction

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Infrastructure – Energy

The topic is crucial for UPSC as it covers India’s energy transition, climate commitments, and hydroelectric development challenges and progress.

 

Context
●  The news discusses India’s plans to increase hydroelectric capacity by over 50% by 2031-32, amidst favorable monsoon predictions and efforts towards renewable energy transition.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Hydro Capacity Growth: Hydro capacity in India is projected to increase from 42 GW presently to 67 GW by 2031-32, indicating a growth of over 50%.
  • Monsoon Prediction: The Indian Meteorological Department forecasts a good monsoon for FY 2024-25, which is expected to improve water reservoir levels, crucial for hydroelectric power generation.
  • Under Construction Projects: Currently, hydroelectric power projects with a combined capacity of 15 GW are under construction in India, with plans to increase capacity to 67 GW by 2031-32.
  • Pumped Storage Projects (PSPs): PSPs are being developed to provide grid stability and balancing power. Projects with 2.7 GW capacity are under construction, with projections to increase to around 55 GW by 2031-32.
  • Impact of 2023-24: The decrease in hydro power generation in 2023-24 was not solely due to low rainfall. Natural disasters, like flash floods in Himachal Pradesh and the Eastern region, significantly affected power generation.
  • Reservoir Replenishment: Despite reduced water levels in reservoirs due to light rainfall, optimism exists for their replenishment, especially with the IMD’s prediction of a good monsoon in FY 2024-25.
  • Contribution to Power System: Hydroelectric power plays a crucial role in providing peaking support to the grid, enhancing reliability and resilience, especially amidst the ongoing energy transition towards solar and wind power.
  • Challenges and Targets: Challenges like natural calamities and geological surprises have slowed down hydro power development. However, India aims to accelerate progress in line with ambitious targets set in the Nationally Determined Contributions under the COP Paris agreement.
  • Renewable Energy Growth: India has significantly increased its renewable energy capacity, achieving over 40% of installed power capacity from non-fossil fuels by 2021. It aims to surpass the committed capacity of 50% from non-fossil sources by 2030, with steady growth rates observed in renewable energy generation and installed capacity, particularly in solar power.
  • Sustainability Commitments: India’s commitments under the Nationally Determined Contributions include reducing emissions intensity of GDP by 45% by 2030 and achieving around 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil-fuel-based energy resources by 2030. These commitments align with the nation’s efforts to combat climate change and promote sustainable development.
 Hydroelectric Power Projects:

Hydroelectric potential in India:

● Abundant Water Resources: India possesses significant hydroelectric potential due to its extensive network of rivers and rainfall patterns.

● Varied Terrain: Diverse geographical features including mountain ranges, plains, and plateaus offer ideal locations for hydroelectric projects.

●  High Energy Output: Hydroelectricity contributes a substantial portion of India’s electricity generation, providing a reliable and renewable energy source.

Government Initiatives: Various government policies promote the development of hydroelectric projects to meet growing energy demands and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Pros:

Renewable Energy Source: Hydroelectric power is generated from flowing water, a renewable resource, reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Hydroelectricity produces minimal greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change mitigation.

●  Reliable Power Supply: Hydroelectric plants offer consistent power generation, unaffected by weather variability, ensuring grid stability.

●  Water Management: Reservoirs created by hydroelectric dams facilitate water storage for irrigation, flood control, and drinking water supply.

Job Creation: Construction and operation of hydroelectric projects create employment opportunities, supporting local economies.

Cons:

● Environmental Impact: Hydroelectric dams disrupt river ecosystems, leading to habitat loss, altered water flow, and impacts on aquatic life.

●  Displacement of Communities: Large-scale dam projects often necessitate the relocation of communities, causing social upheaval and loss of livelihoods.

● Silt Accumulation: Reservoirs behind dams accumulate silt over time, reducing storage capacity and affecting downstream ecosystems.

●  Risk of Dam Failure: Dam failures pose catastrophic risks, potentially causing flooding, loss of life, and property damage.

● High Capital Costs: Initial construction costs for hydroelectric projects are significant, requiring substantial investments.

 

PYQ: What do you understand by run of the river hydroelectricity project? How is it different from any other hydroelectricity project? (100 words/5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2013)
Practice Question:  Discuss India’s strategy to enhance hydroelectric capacity amidst climate commitments and challenges, emphasizing its significance in sustainable energy transition. (150 Words /10 marks)

 

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