1. Current State of Hydropower: India's installed capacity is 52 GW, with 18 GW under implementation or has been bid out. The aim is to reach 78 GW by 2030. Unpredictable weather patterns like El Niño and other challenges have caused a decline in hydropower generation.
2. Previous Policy: A hydropower policy existed from 2008, focusing on incentivizing private sector investment and cost recuperation. However, there are gaps that need to be addressed, especially in environmental clearance and saleable energy proportion.
3. Need for a New Policy: To efficiently utilize the hydro potential and meet energy transition goals, a new policy is essential for optimizing project development and state-central government cooperation.
4. Expectations from the New Policy: Incentives for project developers, support for infrastructure, and mandatory development of roads, bridges, etc. There will be an emphasis on increased project costs and tariff rationalization.
5. Strategic Importance: Hydropower is significant for India's energy security and geopolitical strategy, especially in response to Chinese water diversion tactics. Large dams and projects like the NHPC's 11 GW are part of this strategic infrastructure.
Strategic Relevance of Hydropower in India-China Relations
The strategic importance of India's hydropower development is closely tied to regional geopolitics, particularly in relation to China. The construction of large-scale hydropower projects is not just about energy generation but also about establishing a strategic asset in border areas.
For instance, the state-run NHPC's 11 GW project in the Upper Siang region is a multifaceted strategic move. It is an endeavor to establish a robust infrastructure to counter Chinese influence and activities, particularly water diversion.
By building these dams and storage facilities, India aims to assert its rights over the shared river resources, secure water availability for its population and agriculture, and create a buffer against potential upstream water manipulation by China. These projects reflect a broader strategy of ensuring national security through sustainable energy independence, water security, and regional stability.
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