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India’s geothermal policy delayed as industry awaits

As Panchabuta had mentioned in February, Ramesh Narayan Sawant, a grade F Scientist-Director-ministry of new and renewable energy with responsibilities including NHEFCC matters including DPR preparation and EFC proposal etc., Misc. NT Proposals, had mentioned that India would have geothermal policy by March.

As this report in Bloomberg mentions, the industry leaders in this space including  Tata, Thermax, were awaiting the Geothermal Policy to make their investments in this space.

Tata power India’s largest private power utility and an experienced project developer has identified geothermal as one of the top three renewable technologies along with solar and wind as far as it is concerned in India.

The company has also bet big on geothermal energy and has an equity stake in Australia’s Geodynamics. It also has an agreement with the Gujarat state government to explore geothermal potential.

Tata Power led consortium comprising of Tata Power (47.50%), Origin Energy Limited (47.50%) and PT Supraco Indonesia (5%) successful won the bid for the Sorik Marapi geothermal project in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The Sorik Marapi project is estimated to support the development of approximately 240 MW of geothermal generation capacity.

Tata Power has also won the Satpura CBM block with our consortium partner Arrow Energy.

As readers of Panchabuta are aware, Thermax entered into a partnership with  Iceland firm Reykjavik Geothermal for 3MW project in Ladakh. The pilot 3 MW project is slated to be set up in Puga Valley in Ladakh and is likely to be the first such project in the country, according to industry sources. Reykjavik Geothermal will help in drilling and exploration activities for the project.

According to this report,  Banmali Agrawala, executive director of strategy and business development, Tata Power said,  “We see good potential in areas near Leh and Godavari. The success of a project will depend on its promoter; you need a heavy pocket to invest on this, as the initial investment cost is much higher. Government should come out with a clear policy framework on the allotment of acreages and control over heat.”

Further, A R Shukla, a Grade- G scientist, advisor, ministry of new and renewable energy whose responsibilities include Biogas Programmes, R&D Coordination, Special Projects on Cook-stoves, Village Energy Security Programme (VESP), NIC, NIRE, Geothermal, NT, Tidal Energy, IREP, BOVs, said, “We have formed a working group for a national policy. It met once in December and another meeting may happen soon. But an exact timeframe cannot be given, as so many players are involved. However, anybody can go ahead with their projects, based on the present research and development policy.”

The consent that projects can go ahead based on the research and development policy seems to be the only bright spot in this delay as not time for the policy has been indicated by Mr. Shukla.

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