Gangtok, November 22, 2012:
The Ministry of Forest & Environment has given clearances to ten micro hydel power projects proposed over different streams and rivulets in two Districts of Sikkim that would benefit over 2000 families residing in remote villages.
Clearances for the ten mini hydel power projects in North and East Districts with a combined generation capability of 770 KW were received by the Sikkim government earlier this week, informs the officials here. Work commencement orders would be issued to the contractors soon targeting to complete the establishment and generation works within 18 months, it was informed. The Nodal Officer from Energy & Power department, CK Basnet told SIKKIM EXPRESS that the State government had submitted a proposal for 13 mini hydel power projects with a total capacity of 1070 KW that would be maintained by the local communities after commissioning. However, the department was informed about only ten projects being cleared by the Forest Ministry, he informed. Six projects in North district and four in East District have received environmental clearances. The projects in North Sikkim are B-8 (40 KW), B-9 (45 Kw), Bakcha (100 KW), Phensong (60 KW), Lingdem (100 KW) and Lingzya (100 KW). The East District projects are in Lamaten (100 KW), Lingtam (100 KW), Dalapchand (25 KW) and Sawa Khola (100 KW). Three proposed mini hydelpower projects at Bala, Buthang and Kumrek in East District with 100 KW each are yet to receive the environmental clearances, said Basnet. Now we have received the forest clearances, the department will start issuing work commencement orders to the contractors to start their works at the earliest, he said. The 25 KW mini hydel power project in Dalapchand has been allotted to a local cooperative society. Once the projects are complete, they will be handed over to the villagers so they can maintain the projects themselves, said Basnet.
The total cost estimated for all the 13 projects stood at Rs. 19.051 crores. Out of this, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy is providing financial assistance of Rs. 10.8 crores and North East Council chipping in with Rs. 5 crores while the State’s share of costs is Rs. 3.13 crores, the official informed. Estimates of each project varies depending on its location and distance from nearest approach road. The cost sanctioned by the Ministryof New & Renewable Energy is Rs. 1 lakh for one KW. Power generated from each mini hydel project would be used for local consumption of one or few small villages. The rationale for setting up micro hydel power projects in streams, found in abundance in Sikkim, comes from drop in voltage in villages due to long lengths of feeder and transmission lines. The nature of the power is also very unreliable even though the demand for continuous and quality power to the villages is on the rise. Construction and maintenance of transmission lines to remote and difficult terrain is very expensive and to address this and also to meet the increasing demand for energy, mini hydel plants are being explored as a solution. Though the hydro power potential of streams in Sikkim are roughly estimated to range between 400 MW to 600 MW, there is no actual data available at the moment though an effort is underway to establish stream based hydro power strength here.
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