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INSIGHT: New Meghalaya Power Policy takes shape after 14 long years, focussed on sustainable development of new power projects

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Shillong, Feb 27: Fourteen long years bereft of any fresh policy on power generation, a new draft has finally seen the light of day with the state cabinet on Monday giving its approval to the Draft Meghalaya Power Policy, 2024, that aims to develop sustainable power projects through hydro, thermal, pumped storage, solar and wind etc to boost power generation in a state that so far uses only 13 percent of its huge potential.

Despite Meghalaya having a huge Hydro power potential amounting to nearly 3000 MW, the State Power Generation Corporation Limited has only tapped the surface harnessing around 13% of the available potential. The power potential harnessed so far is only 378 MW with another 3 MW under implementation.

Announcing this ground breaking decision that can have a huge advantage for the state in revenue generation, state Power Minister Abu Taher Mondal said, “We have discussed the new power policy in a thorough manner and cabinet has approved the new power policy.”

He informed that the last power policy came way back in the year 2010. “14 years have elapsed and there have been big changes in the power scenario, so we needed a new power policy,” he added.

The new policy aims to improve the efficiency for the operations of the existing Power Plants and the Generation Utility as a whole, to build, maintain & operate an efficient, coordinated & economical transmission system, to improve the Distribution System and reduce the system losses and to make the system a user friendly for the public right from billing, complaints, etc of electricity.

The policy also stated the need to form the State Power Trading company with the objective to execute power purchase agreements, undertake short-term purchase on behalf of State Distribution Utility, undertake PPA with new renewable Power Plants in the state and Management of the power in efficient manner, to encourage and promote the development of renewable energy and to address the environmental issues in line with the requirement of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India.

The policy also mentions that a state level committee to be headed by the power minister will be constituted to overlook the process of clearances and development of all power projects in the state.

The committee would engage in identification of the projects, facilitating government land transfer/lease, facilitation in arriving at agreement between Private land owner and developer.

A four-pronged strategy has been proposed by way of participation of Central, State, Private Sectors & Joint Ventures. This participation shall be through open bidding/MOA Route.

Allotment of the projects would be on Build, Own, Operate & Transfer (BOOT) basis and Royalty is to be charged in the form of free power during that period. To provide IPPs’ for development of self-identified projects and adoption of river basin approach for development of hydro power.

Bijoli bikota aro tikatani bidingo namdapatna Meghalaya Power Policy, 2024ko Cabineto ra•chaka

The policy mentions that the Pumped Storage Hydro Power Projects are to be a flexible, dynamic, efficient and green way to store and deliver large quantities of electricity, pumped-storage hydro plants store and generate energy by moving water between two reservoirs at different elevations.

The main objectives of the Policy for the development of Pumped Hydro Power in the state are – to facilitate development of Pumped Storage Hydro Project in the State, to attract private investment, generating revenue for the government and boost the economy of the state and to make power from pumped storage hydro projects available peaking requirement as well as to fulfil the RPO obligations notified by MoP from time to time.

The policy also proposed to develop a thermal power project of the capacity of around 250 MW.

It said that as a first step, consultant to be appointed for carrying out the feasibility study of the project in terms of water and land availability, sourcing of coal, power evacuation and financial viability of the project keeping in mind the impact of tariff of the project on the power purchase cost of the Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited.

After the feasibility study the development of the project through Joint Venture, Private Partnership and CPSUs’.

The tariff of the thermal power project shall be decided by State Regulator MSERC and the entire power is proposed to be sold to Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited or through the proposed State Power Trading Company.

Benefits available in the Industrial Policy are proposed to be extended to the thermal power projects.

The policy also noted that there has been tremendous growth in wind power projects across the nation with the national installed capacity of wind power touching 44.73 GW in December 2023.

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