Potential of 111.05 GWp of hydel energy: JK still purchases energy worth crores annually to meet demand
Srinagar, Jul 28: Though Jammu and Kashmir has a potential to generate 111.05 GWp of hydel energy, the state still purchases energy worth crores annually to meet the demand. The government had formulated Solar Power Policy years back with the sole objective of promoting generation of green and clean power by using solar energy. However sources said that the state was still purchasing energy worth crores annually for its sustenance, which is quite unfortunate. “State is deficit in power supply and even for its own requirement around 70% of power is imported / purchased from outside,” sources maintained. Quoting official figures, one of the former officials of the PDD told KNS that that, in 2004-05, the state had a demand of 1706 MW and that was going to increase to 2600 MW in 2012-13 and 3500 MW in 2025-26. “This means our demand is going to double in a period of 20 years and J&K would be one of the least per capita consumers of electricity; so this doubling of demand needs to be underlined,” he said. He said that the state of Jammu and Kashmir is endowed with significant hydel potential which, when exploited fully, will provide a strong impetus for the growth of its economy. “Optimal exploitation of available hydel resources in the State would not only meet the internal demand but will also supply power to the Northern grid to boost the overall development of the State,” the officials said and added that important river basins of State having large potential of power generations of power include Indus and its tributaries, Jhelum and its tributaries, Chenab and its tributaries; as well as Tawi and BE WA water resources. Sources however said that all the concerned agencies, which have the mandate to tap the potential in order to make the State self sufficient in power generation has failed to harness even a bit in the same. Sources said National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), in its study has said that Jammu and Kashmir has solar power potential of 111.05 GWp, which is the second highest in the country after Rajasthan where the potential is 142.32 GWp. None of the other States in the country have the potential even up to 65 GWp. Sources said that the Union Government had sanctioned some projects in this regard under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) but whether the same have seen light of the day is not known to anybody. Sources said that Science and Technology Department have failed to regularly follow the developments vis-à-vis on important projects with the Union Ministry as a result of which uncertainty continues to prevail for the hydel energy in the state. Sources said that even those small plants, which were installed through Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency, got damaged during the devastating floods of September 2014 but, were not repaired. A large number of plants, which were installed in different hospitals besides some educational institutions in different parts, have also been lying dysfunctional because of the failure of the concerned authorities of the State to put pressure on channel partners and manufacturers. One of the expert in power generation said that Renewable energy was a sustainable innovation, as the word sustainability includes profitability. Renewable energy, he said, was a must for the present set up, for fossil fuels including oil and coal were exhausting, oil prices were increasing and lakes and rivers were getting polluted. Talking about solar energy, he said it was sustainable especially in J&K, for usually there remain seven to eight months of good sunshine. “Solar energy shall generate huge employment in the state,” he said. One of the professors of department of Botany, Kashmir University said J&K was rich in resources, “but unfortunately we have not tapped them all.” “For instance, we can identify 15 areas here, where wind mills can be installed. Then we have got very rich resources of biomass available in the state,” he said. One of the former top officials of the PDP told KNS that the disturbed atmosphere over the last few years was also largely responsible for the “inefficiency” of the power production and distribution system in the state. “Because of the consistent unrest in the Kashmir, we are not been able to utilize the energy resources the way we should,” he maintained. It is to mention here that the former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had stated that the State Government would spend Rs 2000 crores for mini-hydel power projects (all between 9 to 15 mw) to harness power potential in Jammu and Kashmir. “The Government would utilize Rs 2000 crores, a provision of which has been kept in the Prime Minister’s Development Package, for construction of mini-hydel power projects of 9 to 15 mw, to help harness power potential in the State,” Mehbooba had said.