Hydel #3. Why states might bear the onus of supporting hydel projects that struggle to compete against batteries, electrolysers, and their ilk

India’s latest hydel push is facing strong headwinds. With a target of 500 GW of renewable power capacity by 2030, the country needs to add as much as 80 GW of energy storage to stabilise the grid, and meet peak power demand.

Accordingly, not only is the government pushing technologies like Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) and electrolysers, it has also readied a giant hydel push. It wants to add over 30,000 MW in fresh hydel capacity—and 96,000 MW in pumped storage—by 2030.

PSUs like NEEPCO (North East Electric Power Corporation) and NHPC (Formerly, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation) have been assigned projects to build. State governments are pushing these projects as well. 

And yet, as the first two reports in this series have shown, the viability of these projects is far from clear. If India misses the 500 GW target, its need for storage will be lower. If technologies like BESS and electrolysers live up to their promise, they will be cheaper than hydel. 

In the third—and concluding—part of this series, we look at the fallouts of this uncertainty. 

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