Climate change may decrease JK’s hydropower generation: Report

The demand of electricity in Jammu and Kashmir will touch 19,500 million units by 2020-21, even as “prevalent climate change scenario” in the state is likely to affect its hydropower generation, an official report has predicted.

Climate change may decrease JK’s hydropower generation - ReportThe J&K government’s report—State Action Plan on Climate Change—states that energy demand in the State has gradually increased during the past five years at an annual rate of 5 to 6 percent.

“According to 16th All India Power Survey, the power requirement of the state is expected to reach 19,500 million units during 2020-21,” the report adds.

“Out of total power demand of 17,323 million units at present, the power generation from the state-owned power houses is only 2562 million units. Bulk of electricity consumption in the State is by the domestic sector. With modernization and increased urbanization, per-capita energy consumption of the State has increased from 849.98 kWh in 2010-11 to 882.82 kWh in 2011-12,” it adds.

“J&K has vast hydro potential estimated at 20,000 MW out of which only 16,480 MW is identified till date mainly due to resource constraints,” it states, adding that  approximately, 15 percent  of total identified hydro power potential i.e. 2,457.96 MW has been exploited so far and out of which the state sector projects is only 760.46 MW.

The report mentions that climate change would have drastic impact on hydropower generation capacity in J&K.

“The climate change might impact hydro power generation in three possible ways. Firstly, the available discharge of a river may change since hydrology is usually related to local weather conditions, such as temperature and precipitation in the catchment area. Secondly, an unexpected increase in climate variability may trigger extreme climate events, i.e. floods and droughts, and thirdly, changing hydrology and possible extreme events may increase sediment risks,” the government report mentions.

“More sediment, along with other factors such as changed composition of water, raises the probability that a hydropower project suffers greater exposure to turbine erosion. Moreover, an unexpected amount of sediment will also lower turbine and generator efficiency, resulting in a decline in energy generated. Since the majority of power is generated from hydropower sources, there are high chances that Jammu and Kashmir may face power crisis if the projected impact of climate change happens,” the report states.

As a result, the state will become highly dependent on thermal power plants and also higher carbon intensive power procurement from the NEWNE grid.

“Higher demand of energy due to climatic variability and lower generation due to projected impact of climate change would widen the power supply-demand deficit in Jammu  and Kashmir,” the report mentions.

It mentions the state population has increased by 23.71 percent in the period of 2001- 2011. Interestingly the urban population has increased at a rate of 27.21 percent in the same period which has certainly increased the demand of power, it states.

J&K is heavily relying on power purchase from the NEWNE grid and thermal power generation units and gas and diesel-based power units during winters when its own hydro power generation reduces and power demand rises.

The State is facing power crisis owing to untapped renewable energy, high rate of AT&C losses including pilferage. “In addition to in-sufficient power generation capacity of the state, high transmission and distribution losses of 61.6 percent and loss due to collection inefficiency accumulating to 72.68 percent of total power demand as AT & C loss adds to the power crisis,” it mentions.

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