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India has potential to produce geothermal power


India has technical potential to produce about 10,000 megawatts of geothermal power but it has not given much importance to the technology, the Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari said.

He was talking at an international conference on geothermal and other energy recourses. “Though India has been one of the earliest countries to begin geothermal projects way back in the 1970s, geothermal energy has not emerged as a significant renewable energy option in the country,” he said, adding that the national mission to ensure energy security propels us to look seriously at new and renewable energy options.
India has several geothermal provinces characterized by high heat flow and thermal gradients. The Himayalan region is one of the most promising geothermal areas. It contains about 100 thermal springs and falls in one of the most tectonically active zones. In the 1980s, the first pilot binary 5 kilo watt power plant was successfully operated by the Geological Survey of India at Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh.
The Puga Valley geo-thermal field in Jammu and Kashmir is estimated to have a temperature of 240 degree centigrade at a depth of 2000 meters. “This makes evident its potential and I am confident that this conference would debate ways and means of involving all stakeholders to make this the first viable and operational geo-thermal power plant,” he added.
Giving example of some countries, Ansari said, geothermal energy accounts for 21% of total primary energy supply in Philippines and 3% in the case of Indonesia. In terms of contribution to electricity generation, geothermal energy constitutes 17% in Philippines and 5% in the case of Indonesia.
Among the various new and renewable energy options, he said, geothermal energy is recognized as the cleanest, without smoke or environmental hazards. “If a proper well at adequate temperature is identified, the energy source is limitless, available all through the year and with minimal operating costs, unlike the case of wind or solar power,” he added.
He said that it is hoped that the regulatory and policy environment governing renewable energy in general and geo-thermal energy in particular would evolve, to enable us to realize the existing potential in Ladakh and deploy it for the public good.

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June 2020
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