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The government of Himachal Pradesh, a state in the north of India, has approved amendments to its hydropower policy with the aim of reviving 737 stalled projects which have a cumulative capacity of 5,100 MW.
The amendments make it mandatory for the State Electricity Board to purchase power produced by hydroelectric projects with generation capacities of up to 10 MW. Tariffs on projects with up to 25 MW capacity will be applied from the date of commissioning rather than the date of the implementation agreement. Wheeling charges/open access charges will not be levied on HEPs with up to 25 MW capacity, enabling their output to be sold at competitive rates outside Himachal Pradesh.
Furthermore, the state Cabinet will rationalise royalty rates for new projects. 12% of the power produced by projects currently in development will be free for the first 12 years of operations.
These measures will enable the advancement of the 737 stalled projects. The state government also hopes that they will attract bidders for a further 300 projects with a cumulative capacity of 2.2 GW for which there were no takers despite repeated advertisements under the old policy.
The Cabinet also approved the awarding of 66 MW Dhaulasidh hydropower project to SJVN Ltd. The project involves the construction a hydroelectric power plant on the Beas river in the Hamirpur district of the state, on a build, own, operate, maintain (BOOM) basis.
Hydropower has the potential to generate over 27 GW in Himachal Pradesh. Operational projects currently generate approximately 10.5 GW. The government is aiming to attract INR700 billion (US$10.37 billion) private investment in the hydropower sector over the next ten years.