Hydropower policy of Chhattisgarh extended to 2032

Binit Das

The Chhattisgarh government has extended the period of the small hydropower (SHP) policy for an additional ten years in an effort to promote SHP projects in the state.

The SHP policy that expired on February 2022, encourages the development of SHP projects with a capacity of up to 25 MW. There is an estimated 1,200 MW of SHP potential in Chhattisgarh.

Chhattisgarh State Hydropower Project (Pump Storage Based) Establishment Policy 2022 was also approved by the cabinet to encourage investment in pump storage-based hydropower projects. In the initial phase of the project, seven sites have been identified by the company for establishing pump storage-based hydropower projects with a capacity of approximately 10,000 MW. As part of the process of selecting the sites for the project, a study will be conducted in Korba, Jashpur, Surguja, Gariaband, Dhamtari, and Balrampur districts.

Due to the availability of coal, there has been a significant increase in coal-based power generation projects in the state. However, there should be a proper ratio between thermal power generation capacity and hydropower generation capacity for a stable and smooth operation of any power system. Currently, hydropower generation capacity in the state's power system is not equal to the proportion required, and further development of hydropower projects will be necessary in the future.

According to the Chhattisgarh State Hydropower Project (Pump Storage Based) Establishment Policy 2022, Chhattisgarh State Power Generation Company has been designated as the nodal agency for establishing a pump storage-based hydroelectric project. For each of the selected project sites, a feasibility report and detailed project report (DPR) will be prepared by the nodal agency.

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel announced a fortnight ago that Chhattisgarh would construct a 1,320 MW power plant. The facility will be the first of its kind in terms of capacity to be constructed since the formation of the state in November 2000. It has been proposed that two units of 660 MW each will be built in Korba and the system would be powered by new-age supercritical technology. The CM has directed officials to expedite the project. As demand for electricity is expected to increase in the years ahead, it is necessary to build new power plants to ensure smooth supply by 2030-31.