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Business News/ News / India/  India to build geothermal plant on Chinese border
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India to build geothermal plant on Chinese border

The plan for building a geothermal project in the strategically important state comes in the backdrop of persistent border tensions and deteriorating bilateral ties after their troops clashed in Ladakh in June 2020, killing 20 Indian soldiers.

The ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) says on its website that the efforts of the government are toward establishing cost-competitive geothermal capacity in India. (Mint)Premium
The ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) says on its website that the efforts of the government are toward establishing cost-competitive geothermal capacity in India. (Mint)

New Delhi: India plans to build a major geothermal power plant in Arunachal Pradesh just across the border from where China is setting one up, amid increasingly strident Chinese claims on the North-eastern state.

This will be the second geothermal project in the country, after the one at Puga Valley in Ladakh.

A person in the know said the Centre is considering providing viability gap funding for this energy segment which is at its nascent stage in India and yet to be explored deeply.

“Apart from the Puga Valley project, a project in Arunachal Pradesh will be developed in an area with adequate geothermal potential. China too has taken up a geothermal project in the corresponding area on the other side of the border," said the person.

The plan for building a geothermal project in the strategically important state comes in the backdrop of persistent border tensions and deteriorating bilateral ties after their troops clashed in Ladakh in June 2020, killing 20 Indian soldiers.

This person said the government has also taken up several infrastructure projects along the border amid occasional clashes and criticism over its lack of response to Chinese construction at the border.

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A local university in the state will carry out research for the geothermal project in partnership with a Norwegian agency, according to a proposal. However, the proposal has not yet been finalized, said a second person aware of the developments.

Norway has extensive experience in geothermal energy use, largely in terms of widespread deployment of geothermal heating pumps.

The ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) says on its website that the efforts of the government are toward establishing cost-competitive geothermal capacity in India.

Queries sent to MNRE remained unanswered till press time.

Geo-thermal energy has been widely explored and utilized in Nordic countries. For the Puga Valley project too, where drilling started in August last year, state-run ONGC has tied up with Iceland GeoSurvey, a government agency of Iceland.

On 25 January, Mint reported that ONGC plans to map the geo-thermal energy sources of India in search of clean energy.

According to initial estimates, India has the potential to produce 10 GW of geothermal energy.

Initial exploratory efforts in these areas were made during 1970-80 by the Geological Survey of India (GSI). But efforts to exploit geothermal energy later failed to materialize for a variety of reasons.

The focus on geothermal energy comes at a time when the country has set itself a climate target of 500 GW of installed renewable energy capacity and net zero carbon emission by 2070.

Geothermal technology extracts the heat trapped in the subsurface of the earth, which can be used directly for heating and cooling, or can be converted into electricity. The main advantage of geothermal energy is its low cost and its ability to operate round the year at high capacity.

As a renewable resource, geothermal covers a significant share of electricity demand in Iceland, El Salvador, New Zealand, Kenya and the Philippines.

China on 10 April opposed a visit by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to Arunachal Pradesh, claiming it violated China’s territorial sovereignty. India rejected China’s objection saying the state “was, is, and will always remain an integral and inalienable part of India".

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Published: 17 Apr 2023, 11:04 PM IST
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