Himachal Pradesh has abundant water resources, with five major rivers flowing from the western Himalayas. Its power generation potential is about 23,000 MW – about one fourth of India’s total hydropower potential – out of which about 6,480 MW has been developed. Recognizing the state’s comparative advantage, the state government in 2006 approved a hydropower policy that aims to make Himachal Pradesh the “hydropower state” of India.
According to reports, Himachal Pradesh, known for its vast tourism potential, is going to become ‘power state’ of India. Blessed with vast hydropower potential, almost 25 per cent of the total hydropower potential of the country is available in the state. Keeping this in view, state government is going for speedy harnessing of available power potential to generate more revenue. Out of total 23,560 MW hydro power potential available, only 6673 MW has been exploited so far.
Till now, over 77 projects of more than 5 MW capacity totaling 6266 MW have been allotted to the private sector in the last 3 years. While the people being displaced for the hydropower projects are opposing the government move, the state government is keen to go ahead with these projects.
By the end of 2011-12 the state is expecting to add above 2080 MW to current installed capacity with the commissioning of two Central sector projects-Chamera III 231 MW and Parbati-III 520 MW; eight above 5 MW private sector projects – Karcham Wangtoo 1000 MW, Malana II 100 MW, Budhil 70 MW, Kut 24 MW, Neogal 15MW, Sumej 14 MW, Upper Joiner 12 MW, Beas Kund 9 MW, three state sector projects- Ghanvi 10 MW, Bhaba Augumentation 4.5 MW, Bassi Augumentation 6 MW and a number of small hydro projects with a capacity of 66 MW.
A high level monitoring committee under the chairpersonship of chief secretary has been constituted to monitor the progress of bigger hydro electricity projects to facilitate time bound commissioning of projects.
The Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd. (HPPCL) has a target to develop 3000 MW of power capacity by March, 2017 and 5000 MW by the year 2022 and 500 MW as thermal power in a joint venture. Two sites for solar power of 3 MW have been identified and there is a proposal for wind power for joint venture with independent power producers. Four hydro electric projects (HEP) totaling 856 MW are already under execution by this corporation. HPPCL is implementing the R&R policy approved by the state government in furtherance to its commitment of resettlement and rehabilitation.