Answer :

India is the 7th largest producer of hydroelectric power in the world. Producing over 13% of India’s requirement, hydel power constitute a major source of power in India. The hydel power generation, in India, began in the year 1897 with establishment of hydropower plant in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, with an installed capacity of 130 KW. The hydropower potential of India is around 1,45,000 MW and at 60% load factor, it can meet the demand of around 85,000 MW. As of now, around 26% of hydropower potential has been exploited in India.

A hydroelectric power plant consists of a high dam that is built across a large river to create a reservoir, and a station where the process of energy conversation to electricity takes place. The first step is the collection of run-off of seasonal rain and snow in lakes, streams and rivers. The run-off flows to dams downstream. The water falls through a dam, into the hydropower plant and turns the turbine. The turbine converts the kinetic energy of the falling water into mechanical energy and into electricity. This electricity is transferred to the communities through transmission lines and the water is released back into the lakes, streams or rivers. Since, no pollutant is added to the water nor is it used up in the process, hydropower generation is a renewable source of energy.


Of late, the growth of hydel power has been the slowest in India. The installed hydro capacity at the end of 2018 was around 45,000 MW, an annual growth of just 1%, the lowest since 2009. Moreover, between 2008 and 2019, hydel power’s share of India’s total installed electricity capacity has halved from 25% to 13%. While hydropower is renewable, its social and environmental impact means that big hydel projects are no longer equated with solar, wind and biomass energy. Consequently, the government has stopped categorising hydel projects larger than 25 MW as renewable.


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