Centre is planning to install a 900-km power transmission link to supply the energy produced by the large solar and wind energy projects in Ladakh, said Anand Kumar, Secretary in the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, in a press release.
The power link will initially transfer around 2,500 megawatts (MW) and will be developed in the third phase of the green energy corridors to help tap Ladakh’s solar energy potential of 40 gigawatts (GW). The move is a part of India’s strategy to tap the unrealized potential of the two newly formed Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The ₹11,000-crore project seeks to resolve grid connectivity problems faced by the region. This is also expected to attract investments for setting up green energy projects in the cold desert region, said the release.
Through the project, the Government aims to fill the power deficit in the region, especially during winters. The surplus will be supplied to different parts of the country. However, its construction will be a logistical challenge, considering the region remains snow-covered for nearly six months with very low temperature and oxygen levels.
Kumar further added that the government is mulling on various options that can be utilized to facilitate the power transmission project. It can be either a VGF (viability grant funding) project or a PPP (public-private partnership) project or a mix of both. It may also have a generation component.
Exploring different areas
According to a study conducted by the state-owned Power Grid Corporation, Ladakh, Thar, Rann of Kutch, Lahaul, and Spiti have the potential to generate 315.7 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind power and will require investments of ₹43.7 trillion over the next 30 years to 2050. The Government is exploring the feasibility of setting up storage projects in Leh-Ladakh, the official report added.
The Government is also trying to divide the electricity generated from hydropower projects by Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corp. Ltd and NHPC Ltd between the two youngest Union territories.
There are difficulties in setting up projects in Ladakh, but investments will be made to build transmission systems, Union power minister Raj Kumar Singh had said earlier.
India is a part of the world’s largest clean energy program with the aim of achieving 175GW of clean energy capacity by 2022 as part of its global climate change commitments. New Delhi plans to add 100GW of solar capacity by 2022, including 40GW from rooftop projects, as per the official report.