New Delhi: In its quest to increase its renewable energy portfolio, India proposes to harness 10,000 MW (10 GW) of geothermal energy by 2030 through active international collaboration with countries such as the US, Philippines, Mexico and New Zealand.
The Indian government’s ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) on 6 June released a, “draft Indian geothermal energy development framework" seeking comments from all stakeholders by 10 June.
“The geothermal policy envisages to make a substantial contribution to India’s long-term energy supply and reduce our national greenhouse gas emissions by developing a sustainable, safe, secure, socially and environmentally responsible geothermal energy industry, apart from creating new employment opportunities and leading to environmentally sustainable development by the means of deployment of 1,000 MW geothermal energy capacity in the initial phase till 2022 and 10,000 MW by 2030," said the draft policy.
Geothermal energy is heat stored in the Earth’s crust. This energy has been used for electricity generation and also for direct heat application worldwide since the beginning of the 20th century. It is, however, a site specific renewable source of energy specifically suitable for catering to the energy needs of remote/interior locations.
The total installed capacity for global geothermal power generation was estimated to be around 12.8 gigawatts (GW) till 2014. The top five countries in terms of geothermal power generation are the US, Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico and New Zealand.
In the run-up to the Paris Climate Change summit in December 2015, the Indian government announced its target of achieving 175 GW of renewable power by 2022 and 350 GW or 40% of its total installed power capacity through renewable energy sources by 2030. Read more
India is at nascent stage in terms of exploitation of geothermal energy, primarily because coal is cheaper. But with increasing environmental problems associated with coal based projects, India is now also looking at developing clean and eco-friendly energy sources.
The central government has been actively supporting research in geothermal energy for over two decades. Systematic efforts to explore geothermal energy resources first commenced in India in 1973 and several promising sites were finalized. Some of these are Cambay Graben in Gujarat, Puga and Chhumathang in Jammu and Kashmir, Tattapani in Chhattisgarh, Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh, Ratnagiri in Maharashtra and Rajgir in Bihar.
The draft policy also stresses on the role and active participation of states. respective state governments will facilitate land acquisition at prices determined and also decide on the royalty to be paid for the utilization of geothermal resources.