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Business News/ Economy / Govt eyes finalizing geothermal policy, plans demonstration projects of up to 25 MW
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Govt eyes finalizing geothermal policy, plans demonstration projects of up to 25 MW

The Union ministry of new and renewable energy first came up with a draft policy for geothermal energy in 2016. However, it has not been finalized as yet.

Government has now recalibrated its approach and is looking at coming up with the policy even as the demonstration projects are being set up. (pixabay)Premium
Government has now recalibrated its approach and is looking at coming up with the policy even as the demonstration projects are being set up. (pixabay)

New Delhi: Eight years after coming up with a draft national policy on geothermal energy, the Centre is now looking at expediting the process of finalizing the new policy wherein it would provide non-fiscal support for the sector.

The Union ministry of new and renewable energy first came up with a draft policy for geothermal energy in 2016, however, it has not been finalized as yet.

Two people aware of the development said the ministry is looking at finalizing the policy and after the new government takes charge, the policy may be put up for approval.

“Initially, the plan was to first set up few demonstration projects and based on their success, the final policy would be mapped. However, there is so far only one project, in Ladakh, which is not yet complete and the drilling process has been delayed," said one of the two people cited above.

The pilot project of 1 MW is being set up by state-run ONGC Ltd.

The government has now recalibrated its approach and is looking at coming up with the policy even as demonstration projects are being set up. There is a target to set up demonstration projects with a cumulative capacity of about 25 MW, said the other person.

One of the key sites being look at is Barren Island in Andaman & Nicobar, with plans to add to the clean energy supply across the islands. The government may also look at using the energy for production of green hydrogen in the Andaman & Nicobar islands and use it for domestic requirements along with looking at export opportunities to Singapore, said the first official mentioned above.

“For geothermal projects we will soon come up with a policy. We plan to handhold the players foraying into the segment. It would be largely be non-fiscal support," the second person said. Easier environmental clearances and land acquisition would be among the key features of the policy.

In line with draft

The draft policy released in 2016 proposed awarding land for developing the project and maintenance of production wells, thereby securing the commercial viability of the project along with providing land on lease at prices charged to government departments.

Soft loans as in the case of other renewable energy projects were also proposed under the draft policy.

The new policy would largely be in line with the 2016 draft policy, said the first person mentioned above.

 

In this mode of energy generation, heat trapped in the subsurface of the earth is extracted, which can then be used directly for heating and cooling, or can be converted into electricity. It is considered to be a relatively clean fuel and is available round the year. According to initial estimates, India has the potential to produce 10 GW of geothermal energy.

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) had carried out initial exploratory efforts in the country during 1970-80.

One of the officials mentioned above said that the sources of geothermal energy in India are largely hot rocks, which produce less heat thab hot lava in countries like the US.

Exploitation of geothermal resources would also help India to add to its cleaner energy sources as it eyes 500 GW of non-fossil capacity by 2030 and achieve net zero carbon emission by 2070.

Queries mailed to the ministry of new and renewable energy remained unanswered till press time.

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Published: 22 Apr 2024, 06:03 PM IST
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