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India’s hydro power generation grew 2.14 per cent to 15.41 Billion Units (BU) in the month of July as compared to 15.08 BUs in the corresponding month last year, fresh data from Central Electricity Authority (CEA) shows. Hydro generation saw a growth of only 1.73 per cent in July 2016 as compared with the growth of 8.2 per cent in July 2015.
According to Central Water Commission (CWC) data, the current live storage of the country’s 91 reservoirs for the week ended 24 August stood at 79.925 billion cubic metre (BCM), 51 per cent of the total storage capacity. This compares with last year’s storage of 65 per cent and the last ten year’s average storage of 63 per cent of total capacity.
Experts attribute the muted growth in hydro power generation to the overall dip in power demand in the country. “The primary reason for lower hydro generation is that the demand for power continues to be quite poor as discoms are not being able to offtake much power. Unfortunately, we have not been able to leverage hydro power capacity optimally despite it being the most natural and cost-effective form of generation,” said Abhishek Poddar, Partner at consulting firm A T Kearney Ltd.
Hydro generation and growth over the years According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) as on 17 August, the cumulative rainfall received across the country was just below the normal level at 95 per cent of the benchmark Long Period Average (LPA) which lies in the range of 96-104 percent.
Former Power Secretary P Umashankar said low hydro power generation cannot be directly correlated with water reservoir levels. “Water reservoirs do not only cater to hydro power generation but are mainly used for irrigation, too,” he said.
According to Poddar, hydro power is typically used during peak summer months to cater to additional power demand which has remained tepid this year. “Reservoir levels vary depending upon monsoon in different areas. Even with reservoir levels of around 48-50 per cent of the capacity there is enough hydro power generation that can happen,” he said.
India has a current installed hydro power generation capacity of 44,600 Megawatt, 13 per cent per cent of the total installed generation capacity of 3,30,000 Mw at the end of July 2017.
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