Geothermal Energy to power Rural India

India has finally decided to focus on tapping clean and renewable geothermal energy. Geothermal energy is available in abundance in the country but remains largely untapped but this new move will surely bring lots of opportunities.

Union ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) recently drafted a national policy, which seeks to make India a global leader in the sector, generating 1000 MW in phase one, ending 2022. The draft would be presented at the first global investors’ meet on renewable energy, to be held in New Delhi from February 15-17. Leading foreign firms in the geothermal sector are expected to attend this meet.

As quoted by DNA, Girish Kumar, Scientist and head of the geothermal division, MNRE says, “”The power generated could be used to electrify rural parts of the country”.

Chhattisgarh government has already decided to establish the first geothermal power plant in the country at Tattapani in Balrampur district, along with NTPC. This is the most promising geothermal resource in central India. If the pilot project is successful, the state may plan generation of 10,000MW in a decade. The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) have assessed the potential of generating 10,600 Mwth from 340 hot springs spread across seven geothermal provinces in 11 states.

According to Girish Kumar, scientist and head of the Geothermal Division, MNRE, the power generated could be used to electrify rural parts of the country, especially for the cold-storages. “Though the technology to generate power from geothermal energy is available, it is very site-specific; so major thrust of the proposed policy at present is on exploration, research and development of efficient pumps.”

Though India has been one of the earliest countries to begin geothermal projects way back in the 1970s, but at present there are no operational geothermal plants in India. There is also no installed geothermal electricity generating capacity as of now mainly chief because the availability of plentiful coal at cheap costs.

The scheme is open to public and private sector to carry out projects in India. For geothermal power exploration, the entrepreneur is supposed to approach the state government for site allocation. For industrial projects it would 30% of the capital cost and 30-50% for the research, design and development work and up to Rs 50,000 for public good like space heating, greenhouse cultivation, cooking etc, using direct geo-exchange pumps.

All stake holders like HVAC Contractors & Suppliers, Food Processing Units Manufactures Builders & contractors, Cold storage, Green House Manufacturer, Hotel/Restaurants Owners, Industry owners, Social Institutes, Schools Owners are encouraged to come forward for deployment of geothermal pumps

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Sam is an energy enthusiast who follows changing and developing trends in rural energy scenario, often applying fresh insights to solve the complex energy access scenario. He stays in New Delhi, India - and often travels deep into the villages to get his insights.

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