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Small Hydro Program in Uttarakhand

In Uttarakhand, about 63.10% of the population lives in rural areas and most of them belong below the poverty line. Geographical conditions of the state differ at a short distance. Most of the area is hilly and forest coverage is about 66%. It is not possible to laid grid lines due to:

  • Forest laws
  • Due to high cost of coverage.
  • Operation and maintenance

As a solution of this problem- Decentralized Distributed Generation (DDG) Micro & Mini Hydro Projects are suitable and best way to provide electricity facility to the villages. Operation and maintenance of Standalone MHPs can be done in easy manner.

Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA) is constructing MHPs for remote village electrification as well as for grid feeding. MHPs are being constructed with the financial support from Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Govt. of India. UREDA has commissioned large number of MHPs in the remote area of state where the National or state grid cannot be extended. 44 MHPs of total capacity 4.29 MW have been installed in the remote villages of Uttarakhand till date and another 19 MHPs of total capacity 2.315 MW are under implementation.

  • Clean Development Mechanism Benefits on Micro Hydro Projects:

The Project Design Document (PDD) was prepared by UREDA under Small Scale category for availing CDM benefits against the reduction in carbon emission through construction of 29 Bundled MHPs of 3.115 MW capacity in the State of Uttarakhand. These projects are located in the remote districts of Uttarakhand like Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Chamoli, Uttarakashi and Tehri Garhwal. This project is validated by Ministry of Environment and Forest, Govt. of India.  Under this project, emission of 8668 Ton of CO2 will reduce to release in environment against the annual generation of 11.17 MU of electricity by these projects. The executive board formed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has registered the project submitted by UREDA.

  • Improved Watermill Programme:

As per the survey conducted by the UREDA, 15449 traditional watermills (Gharats) exist in working or defunct condition. UREDA is engaged in up-gradation of these traditional watermills for mechanical, electrical and electromechanical use with the financial support of MNRE.

Upgradation of such traditional watermills can be great source of employment generation.

The upgraded watermills are an essential and important source of energy in remote areas.


These watermills not only provide electricity to small areas but are also used for grinding grains. Up-graded watermill produces power up to 5 KW which is sufficient for electrification of 15-20 families within the diameter of 500 meters. Small Scale Industry Department, Government of India has declared Watermill (Gharats) as Small Scale Industry and State Government has exempted Watermill parts and products from VAT.


For the upgradation of traditional watermill State Government is providing a subsidy of Rs. 6000/- per Watermill apart from the subsidy by MNRE i.e. Rs. 1.10 Lakhs for up-gradation for electrical/electromechanical output and Rs. 35,000/- for mechanical output.

  • Ultra-Low Head Micro – Hydro Project (UNIDO):

This Ultra Low Head Micro Hydro Project (ULH-MHP) will demonstrate, deploy and transfer an innovative system. State has about 8,200 km of manmade water canals and 400 small falls that are ideal for the demonstration of this turbine system. The key areas of interventions in the first phase of the pilot project are:

  • Installation of the ultra-low head technology to demonstrate mini-grid systems for productive uses
  • Capacity building and institutionalization in ULH-MHP sector to develop a hub
  • Identification of business opportunities for replication and localization through technology transfer
  • Awareness-raising and working on market/investment opportunities to mainstream this new technology as a new sector.

The pilot installation will result in developing replicable business models from the demonstration of ULH-MHP mini-grid system in the state of Uttarakhand. Being an innovative solution to generate electricity at ultra-low head (below 3.0 m) with a discharge of 0.8-3.0 m3/sec, the establishment of a favorable environment for the local technology deployment is envisaged.

Nodal Agency: UREDA

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