Renewable Energy – Wind, Tidal, Geothermal, etc.

Kinnaur Hydroelectric Project


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Kinnaur Hydroelectric Project

Mains level: Hydel energy and its feasiblity

The people of Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh have been protesting against the proposed 804-megawatt Jangi Thopan Powari hydroelectricity project (JTP HEP) over the Satluj since April 2021.

Kinnaur Hydroelectric Project

  • The run-of-the-river (ROR) project envisages the construction of a concrete gravity dam of ±88 metres high above the deepest foundation level across river Satluj near Jangi village.
  • The diversion of water will involve the construction of a 12-km-long tunnel.
  • The tentative land requirement for the project is 295.93 hectares, out of which 270.43 ha is forest land and 25.5 ha is private.
  • Construction of the dam will result in the submergence of about 156.2917 ha of land, out of which 143.2093 ha is forest land and 13.0824 ha is private.

Answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.What is common to the places known as Aliyar, Isapur and Kangsabati? (CSP 2017)

(a) Recently discovered uranium deposits

(b) Tropical rain forests

(c) Underground cave systems

(d) Water reservoirs

Why are people protesting?

  • Kinnaur district is mainly marked by its cold desert, tribal population, fragile topography, rich and diverse culture, apple orchards, off-season vegetables and the Satluj river.
  • The river has been dammed at multiple places along the valley to create an additional feature to Kinnaur’s identity as Himachal’s hydropower hub, which locals believe is a malediction.
  • An integral part of the old Hindustan-Tibetan Route, Jangram Valley, lies on the right bank of the Satluj river in the district.
  • This is not the first time that the cold desert has witnessed such a contestation.

Sutlej is oveloaded

  • The Satluj has taken the biggest load of state hydropower ambition since the early 90s. Out of the total installed capacity, 56 per cent (5720MW) is done in the Satluj basin.
  • According to the State of the Rivers of Himachal Pradesh Report 2017:
  • In other words, 92 per cent of the river will either be flowing through tunnels or will be part of reservoirs.
  • Such a cumulative scale of disturbance with the river’s natural state drastically impacted the life, livelihood and ecology in the Satluj basin.

Why need hydroelectric projects?

  • Hydropower is a necessary choice for the nation’s clean energy transition.
  • In purely technological terms, hydropower projects are an engineering marvel and generate clean, reliable electricity.
  • HEPs are not viable just from the local livelihood and environmental point of view but they have also failed on the financial viability side.

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