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Meghalaya cabinet approves draft power policy

Meghalaya Power Policy, 2024 aims to develop power projects through hydro, thermal, pumped storage, solar, wind in sustainable manner

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SHILLONG, Feb 27: The Meghalaya Cabinet has approved the draft Meghalaya Power Policy, 2024, which seeks to develop power projects through hydro, thermal, pumped storage, solar, wind etc in a sustainable manner.

Addressing media persons after a meeting on Monday, state power minister, Abu Taher Mondal said, “We have discussed the new power policy in a thorough manner and the cabinet has approved the new power policy.”

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He informed that the old power policy was formulated in 2010. “14 years have elapsed and there have been big changes in the power scenario, so we needed a new power policy,” he added.

The policy also aimed at improving the efficiency for the operations of the existing power plants and the generation utility as a whole, to build, maintain and operate an efficient, coordinated and economical transmission system, to improve the distribution system and reduce the system losses and to make the system  user friendly for the public right from billing, complaints, etc of electricity.

The policy also stated the need to form the State Power Trading Company with the objective to execute power purchase agreements, undertake short-term purchase on behalf of State Distribution Utility, undertake PPA with new renewable power plants in the state and management of the power in efficient manner, to encourage and promote the development of renewable energy and to address the environmental issues in line with the requirement of the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change.

The policy said that a state level committee to be headed by the power minister will be constituted to overlook the process of clearances and development of all power projects in the state.

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The committee would engage in identification of the projects, facilitating government land transfer/lease, facilitation in arriving at an agreement between private land owners and developers.

Meghalaya has a huge hydro power potential amounting to nearly 3000 MW. However, with the help of the State Power Generation Corporation Limited it has been able to harness 13 per cent of the available potential. The power potential harnessed so far is only 378 MW with another 3 MW under implementation.

A four-pronged strategy has been proposed by way of participation of central, state, private sectors and joint ventures. This participation shall be through open bidding/MOA route.

Allotment of the projects will be on build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis. Royalty shall be charged in the form of free power during that period to provide IPPs’ for development of self-identified projects and adoption of river basin approach for development of hydro power.

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The policy said that the Pumped Storage Hydro Power Projects are flexible, dynamic, efficient and green ways to store and deliver large quantities of electricity, pumped-storage hydro plants store and generate energy by moving water between two reservoirs at different elevations.

The main objectives of the policy for the development of Pumped Hydro Power in the state are to facilitate development of Pumped Storage Hydro Project in the state, attract private investment, generating revenue for the government and boost the economy of the state, make power from pumped storage hydro projects available as per requirements as well as to fulfill the RPO obligations notified by MoP from time to time.

The policy also proposed to develop a thermal power project of the capacity of around 250 MW.

It said that as a first step, a consultant is to be appointed for carrying out the feasibility study of the project in terms of water and land availability, sourcing of coal, power evacuation and financial viability of the project keeping in mind the impact of tariff of the project on the power purchase cost of the Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited.

After the feasibility study the development of the project through joint venture, private partnership and CPSUs’.

The tariff of the thermal power project shall be decided by the state regulator MSERC and the entire power is proposed to be sold to Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited or through the proposed State Power Trading Company.

Benefits available in the Industrial Policy are proposed to be extended to the thermal power projects

The policy said that there has been tremendous growth in wind power projects across the nation with the national installed capacity of wind power touching 44.73 GW in December 2023. (NNN)

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