Himachal Pradesh has approved 311 mini-hydroelectric power projects with a combined generation capacity of 608 MW since December 2007, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said Tuesday.
'Since the formation of the present Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government (December 2007), we have allotted 311 hydro projects of less than 5 MW capacity each,' Dhumal told the state assembly in a written reply.
Out of these projects, 273 have been allotted to those who are natives of the state, 19 to the Himurja (state energy development agency) and 19 to those living outside the state, he said.
'All these projects would generate 608.07 MW. However, work on these projects is yet to start,' said Dhumal, who also holds the power portfolio.
Himachal Pradesh has abundant water resources, with five major rivers flowing down the slopes of the Himalayas. Its power generation potential is 20,416 MW, about 25 percent of India's total hydropower potential.
Himurja has identified 50 additional mini projects across the state, ranging up to 5 MW. These will be soon allotted to small players.
The projects up to 2 MW would be allotted only to residents of the state.
Under the state's amended power policy, it will get free power from all the allotted projects.
The fixed quota for projects up to 5 MW is 6 percent free power for the first 12 years, 15 percent for up to 30 years, and 24 percent for up to 40 years. After 40 years, the project will be handed over to the government.
To encourage small entrepreneurs, the government is not charging any upfront premium for these projects.
However, for the projects above 5 MW, the fixed upfront premium is Rs.20 lakh per MW, which is in addition to free power bidding.
The average cost of a project is Rs.70 million per MW.