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Gujarat pitches for first geothermal energy plant in country

According to reports, even as the Centre plans to table a geothermal energy policy in the winter session of Parliament to streamline and expedite projects in the country, Gujarat made a pitch to set up the first geothermal energy plant at an international conference held at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University (PDPU) here on Friday.

Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal are the few states which plan to set up projects with capacities of 3-5 MW. All these projects involve companies like ONGC, Mitsubishi and NTPC.

“We are proactive on the geothermal front. A draft policy on geothermal energy is ready,” R N Sawant, director (geothermal & biomass power) at the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy told The Indian Express on the sidelines of the conference on ‘Issues and Challenges in Geothermal Energy’ organised by PDPU.

The Gujarat government’s pitch for a green energy hub was emphasised by D J Pandian, principal secretary at the state’s energy and petrochemicals department, who said PDPU, which is already conducting research on the subject of geothermal energy, should set up the country’s first demonstration project of 1 MW capacity in Gujarat.

“If Gujarat has power generation capacity of 27,000 MW, why can’t it be the first to set up a geothermal project?” Pandian told the gathering. PDPU has completed pre-feasibility studies for the entire Gujarat and has identified five geothermal regions where this energy can be tapped.

Sawant said many players had already signed memorandum of understanding for geothermal projects in the country, which is said to have a geothermal potential of 10,000 MW (mega watt). Geothermal projects harness the intense heat in molten rocks under the earth’s crust for electricity generation and domestic heating.

The capital cost of installing one MW of geothermal energy works out to be between Rs 16-20 crore. The government is also in the process of appointing or forming an agency to take care of the exploration of geothermal resources that have been declared “as a national resource”.

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