Himachal demands new power plant to meet shortages


New Delhi/Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Sunday requested the central government to set up a 500 MW gas-based power plant in the state to help it meet the power shortage during the winters.

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Speaking at the power ministers’ conference in New Delhi, Dhumal said the state’s hydropower generation capacity reduced drastically from October to March.

“The power shortage is likely to touch 800 MW by 2012 due to rapid industrialisation in the state,” he said.

He also requested the central government to increase power allocation from ultra mega power projects during the winters.

“The central government should increase allocation of power from ultra mega power projects to the state from 100 MW to 400 MW,” an official statement quoted Dhumal as saying.

Hydroelectric power generation in the hill state falls 75 to 80 percent every winter after many water channels freeze.

The chief minister also demanded a mechanism be set up for providing grants and soft loans to the hill states for development of hydroelectric projects and establishing transmission network.

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.

Of this, only around 6,500 MW has been developed.

Eleven projects with a combined generation capacity of 1,124 MW are under execution by the state electricity board, whereas 15 projects with a capacity of 1,738 MW are under execution by private companies.

The state generated 6,229 million units of power in 2007-08, of which 5,029 million units were sold outside the state.