Despite Bailout Plan Concerns Over Stalled Hydro Projects

Despite a proposed bailout plan for the hydropower sector, concerns remain on the roll-out of the stalled hydro power projects, according to CEA. "Uncertainty remains about success even with the proposed bailout package due to various factors. So, we are currently targeting at projects which are in advanced stage say 70-80% complete," the Central Electricity Authority official told PTI. There had been decline in interest from private investors in the hydro power projects given environmental hurdles, better alternatives like solar power, tariff of which has plummeted drastically to below Rs 3 a unit, sources said. There are some 14 stalled hydro power projects in the country involving 10,000 MW with around Rs 26,000 Cr in these projects. Beside offering fiscal benefits, the govt was contemplating to offer 'renewable' status to all hydropower projects irrespective of their size in the proposed bailout plan. The%age of hydro power has come down from 45% in 1970 to 14% in 2016 which is too less to have an efficient and balanced grid for operation, the sources added.