In order to supply India’s constantly expanding population with energy needs they have, hydroelectric power plants are essential. These plants harness the power of moving water to generate electricity, providing a clean and renewable source of energy.
India has made large investments in the construction of its hydroelectric power infrastructure in recent years, and as a result, the nation is now home to some of the biggest hydroelectric power Plants in the world.
What is Hydroelectric energy?
Hydroelectric energy is a form of renewable energy generated by harnessing the kinetic energy of falling water to produce electricity. It works by using a dam to store water in a reservoir, which is then released through a turbine to generate power.
Facts on Hydroelectric Power Plants in India
- The Uttarakhand Floods caused damage to the 520 MW Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project site owned by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd. (February 2021.)
- According to the latest data, hydroelectric power makes up 45.8 GW of the installed power capacity of 375.32 GW.
- 2019: The 144MW Chilla Hydroelectric Power Plant in Uttarakhand, India, will undergo modernization work by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).
- The largest hydroelectric power plant in India that has been completed is the Koyna Hydroelectric Project. It can produce 1960 MW of power.
- The Sidrapong hydroelectric power station was the first such facility.
- The Tehri Hydroelectric Generating Plant, which is also known as the Tehri Dam, is the tallest hydroelectric power Plant in the nation. NTPC has now acquired control of the project (Since 2019).
- The Srisailam Hydro Power Plant is India’s third-largest operational facility.
- The largest underground hydroelectric power plant in the nation is the Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Power Plant.
- The second-largest concrete dam in the world is the Sardar Sarovar Dam. Visit the article on the link for a list of dams in India.
Renewable Energy in India
- As declared by the Prime Minister at COP26, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy seeks to install 500 GW of non-fossil energy capacity by 2030.
- The country will have built 172.72 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by October 31, 2022. This consists of 6.78 GW of nuclear power, 46.85 GW of large hydropower, and 119.09 GW of renewable energy.
- This amounts to 42.26 percent of the country’s 408.71 gigawatts of installed generating capacity as of October 31, 2022. (GW).
In terms of installed renewable energy capacity (including large hydro), wind power capacity, and solar power capacity, India is ranked fourth in the world (as per REN21 Renewables 2022 Global Status Report). In comparison to the 11.9 GW added between January and October 2021, 14.21 GW of Renewable Energy (RE) capacity was added between January and October 2022. 151.94 BU were produced from RE sources from January to September 2022 as opposed to 128.95 BU from January to September 2021.
Hydroelectric Power Plants
A Plant that produces electricity by harnessing the kinetic energy of falling water is known as a hydroelectric power plant. Typically, it consists of a dam that holds water in a generator-connected reservoir, a turbine, and a control system that manages water flow while generating energy. Water is discharged from the reservoir by the dam through a pipe or channel, where it passes over or through a turbine to produce mechanical energy, which is then transformed into electrical energy by a generator.
Advantages of Hydroelectric Energy
- Renewable and Sustainable
- Low operating costs
- Low greenhouse gas emissions
- Reliable and predictable energy source
- Can provide water storage and recreation benefits
- Can improve water quality
- Flexible to accommodate changing energy needs.
Types of Hydroelectric Power Plants
- Run-of-the-River: Uses the flow of water in a river to generate electricity without the need for a large water storage reservoir.
- Reservoir: It uses a dam to store water in a large reservoir, which is then released to generate electricity.
- Pumped-Storage: Uses excess electricity to pump water into a high-elevation reservoir, which is then released to generate electricity during periods of high demand.
- Tidal: Uses the energy from the rise and fall of ocean tides to generate electricity.
- Wave: Uses the energy from ocean waves to generate electricity.
- Micro: Small-scale hydroelectric systems, typically used to provide power to a single building or small community.
|Run-of-the-River||Generates electricity by utilizing the natural flow and gradient of a river, without the need for large reservoirs.|
|Reservoir/Storage||Uses a dam to store water in a reservoir and releases it as needed to generate electricity.|
|Pumped-Storage||Involves pumping water from a lower-elevation reservoir to a higher-elevation one when the demand for electricity is low and then releasing it to generate electricity during periods of high demand.|
|Tidal||Generates electricity by harnessing the energy of tidal currents in coastal areas.|
|Wave||Generates electricity by harnessing the energy of ocean waves.|
Disadvantages of Hydroelectric Projects
Hydroelectric projects can have various environmental impacts, some of which are:
- Deforestation: Large areas of forest land may need to be cleared for the construction of dams, reservoirs, and associated infrastructure.
- Loss of wildlife habitat: Flooding of large areas of land can displace wildlife, alter migration patterns, and result in the loss of habitats.
- Changes in water flow: Changes in the flow of rivers due to damming or diversion can alter the natural hydrology of a region and affect the health of aquatic ecosystems.
- Disruption of migration patterns: Dams can block the migration of fish species, affecting their populations and altering the food chain.
- Soil erosion: The construction of dams and reservoirs can cause soil erosion, leading to increased sedimentation in downstream areas.
- Water pollution: The release of chemicals, such as mercury, from flooded areas into the water system can pollute the water and harm aquatic life.
- Increased greenhouse gas emissions: Reservoirs can emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and the production of concrete for dam construction can also contribute to emissions.
- Displacement of indigenous communities: Hydroelectric projects can result in the displacement of local communities and the loss of their ancestral lands, homes, and livelihoods.
|Deforestation||Large areas of forest land may need to be cleared for the construction of dams, reservoirs, and associated infrastructure.|
|Loss of wildlife habitat||Flooding of large areas of land can displace wildlife, alter migration patterns, and result in the loss of habitats.|
|Changes in water flow||Changes in the flow of rivers due to damming or diversion can alter the natural hydrology of a region and affect the health of aquatic ecosystems.|
|Disruption of migration patterns||Dams can block the migration of fish species, affecting their populations and altering the food chain.|
|Soil erosion||The construction of dams and reservoirs can cause soil erosion, leading to increased sedimentation in downstream areas.|
|Water pollution||The release of chemicals, such as mercury, from flooded areas into the water system can pollute the water and harm aquatic life.|
|Increased greenhouse gas emissions||Reservoirs can emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and the production of concrete for dam construction can also contribute to emissions.|
|Displacement of indigenous communities||Hydroelectric projects can result in the displacement of local communities and the loss of their ancestral lands, homes, and livelihoods.|
List of Hydroelectric Power Plants in India
|States||River||Hydroelectric Power Plant|
|Andhra Pradesh||Krishna||Nagarjunasagar Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Andhra Pradesh||Krishna||Srisailam Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Andhra Pradesh, Orissa||Machkund||Machkund Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Gujarat||Narmada||Sardar Sarovar Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Himachal Pradesh||Baira||Baira-Siul Hydroelectric Power plant|
|Himachal Pradesh||Sutlej||Bhakra Nangal Hydroelectric Power plant|
|Himachal Pradesh||Beas||Dehar Hydroelectric Power plant|
|Himachal Pradesh||Sutlej||Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Power plant|
|Jammu and Kashmir||Chenab||Salal Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Jammu and Kashmir||Jhelum||Uri Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Jharkhand||Subarnarekha||Subarnarekha Hydroelectric Power plant|
|Karnataka||Kalinadi||Kalinadi Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Karnataka||Sharavathi||Sharavathi Hydroelectric Power plant|
|Karnataka||Kaveri||Shivanasamudra Hydroelectric Power plant|
|Kerala||Periyar||Idukki Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Madhya Pradesh||Sone||Bansagar Hydroelectric Power plant|
|Madhya Pradesh||Narmada||Indira Sagar Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh||Rihand||Rihand Hydroelectric Power plant|
|Maharashtra||Koyna||Koyna Hydroelectric Power plant|
|Manipur||Leimtak||Loktak Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Odisha||Sileru||Balimela Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Odisha||Mahanadi||Hirakud Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Sikkim||Rangit||Rangit Hydroelectric Power plant|
|Sikkim||Teesta||Teesta Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Uttarakhand||Bhagirathi||Tehri Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Himachal Pradesh||Baspa||Baspa-II Hydro Electric Power plant|
|Himachal Pradesh||Satluj||Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Electric Power Plant|
|Himachal Pradesh||Beas||Pandoh Dam|
|Jammu and Kashmir||Chenab||Dulhasti|
These are a few of the environmental problems connected to hydroelectric projects, and it’s crucial for planners and authorities to take these into account and mitigate them in order to prevent further damage to the environment and local residents.
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