India’s hydropower scenario
India’s currently installed, 46GW generation base is growing incrementally. Its goal to achieve 175 GW of renewables by 2021 will now include hydropower too.
By adding much-needed reactive power to the national grid, hydropower such as pumped storage will also play a major role mitigating grid stability risks associated with large volumes of variable output renewables.
Large projects are planned in the northern region of the country, notably Ratle (850 MW) and Kwar (540 MW). Additionally, India’s north-eastern region is endowed with a rich hydro potential. Arunachal Pradesh, which shares its northern border with China, has a hydro potential of 50,328 MW. To begin harnessing this, state-owned utility NHPC Ltd. has already begun tendering activities for the 2,880 MW Dibang hydropower project.
The government has also recently introduced some new concepts to the energy sector, such as Round-the-Clock (RTC) renewables, but this is viable only when storage is available. In such a scenario, pumped storage plants will be the most applicable long-term solution.