Wednesday, February 21, 2024

World Bank approves loan of $200 million to Himachal for power reforms

 The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors have approved a loan of $200 million to the Himachal Pradesh government to facilitate power sector reforms and increase the share of renewable energy (RE) in the state’s electricity generation.

This will contribute to the state’s overall aim of adding 10,000 megawatts (10 gigawatts) of additional RE capacity to make the state’s power supply greener.

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Himachal Pradesh aims to become a ‘Green State’ by meeting 100 per cent of its energy needs through renewable and green energy by 2030.

The state currently meets more than 80 per cent of its energy demands from hydropower. The World Bank’s Himachal Pradesh Power Sector Development Program will help the state enhance the utilisation of its existing RE resources, including hydropower, and help to diversify its RE resources further.

For instance, it will add 150 megawatts of solar capacity in the state, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 190,000 metric tons per year.

“The programme will boost local economic activity while replacing fossil fuel based energy consumption with green energy,” said Auguste Tano Kouamé, the World Bank’s Country Director for India.

“Moreover, the programme will support Himachal Pradesh to set up a single energy trading desk, thus enabling the sale of surplus hydropower to other states.”

More importantly, the programme will provide a template for the Indian power market for underwriting new investments in renewable energy.

In Himachal’s hilly terrain where challenges in maintaining uninterrupted power supply are higher — and restoration in case of a breakdown may take longer than elsewhere — the programme will help achieve a strengthened transmission and distribution grid.

It will introduce advanced technologies such as a demand response management system and seamless access to RE.

This is critical during peak load periods when the state must otherwise rely on expensive fossil fuel based power. The introduction of automated systems will be an important step towards providing clean, reliable 24×7 power supply to citizens, reduce power outages, and minimize consumer complaints.

The programme will help strengthen environmental, social, financial management, corporate governance, and procurement capabilities of the state’s power sector utilities and agencies.

In addition, it will contribute towards creating job opportunities in specialised technical and managerial fields in the sector, especially for women. State power utilities will train around 700 female apprentices throughout the lifespan of the program, giving them hands-on exposure and training in technical roles within the power sector.

This will build on the National Apprentice Promotion Scheme implemented by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

“The programme will promote good and sustainable practices within the power utilities in the state to transition them to run a green and low carbon electricity system,” said Surbhi Goyal and Pyush Dogra, team leaders for the programme.

“This shall contribute towards the state’s goal to be one of the first ‘Green State’ in the country.”

The $200 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a final maturity of 14.5 years, including a grace period of 4.5 years.


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