In a move which promises to make a fundamental impact on clean energy generation in North Eastern and other hilly states, the Government of Meghalaya has announced that it has launched Hydroger Mission under Decentralized Green Energy Project with total financial outlay of Rs. 11.55 crore with financial support from NABARD under RIDF.
At the heart of the innovation is a hydroger, a big dynamo-type generator of electricity that can produce power at an installed capacity of 3-5 kilowatts from water running down a stream. The water from the spring source is stored in a check dam which is a part of the project and then directed to the hydel ramp pump and hydroger for providing drinking water and clean energy. Its efficacy can be judged from the fact that such units have been already used to light up an army camp in Jammu and Kashmir.
Installed at a bare minimum cost of Rs. 5 Lakh per project, each such unit has the power to provide clean drinking water to a small hamlet of 50-60 houses besides lighting street lights at night. Among other benefits which come along are enhanced productivity of small poultry and dairy units, scope for setting up micro paddy thresher units on community basis besides utilization of excess run off water for irrigation by farmers in the catchment area. After the hydroger is installed, the villagers are trained in its handling and care. The people also ensure that forests around the site and the catchment of the stream is maintained, a step that can go a long way in securing hope for sustainability of the project. Moreover, these hydrogers will be fabricated in Meghalaya, giving the manufacturing sector a boost.
Applauding the state government’s initiative, Conrad Sangma, Chief Minister remarked, “North East comes with unique geological challenges. Installation of regular power grids and transmission infrastructure in such areas is a huge capital intensive proposition, something which a small state like Meghalaya can ill afford. The Hydroger Mission aims to address both these key challenges. I am happy to share that NABARD has emerged as one of our important partners in the growth story of Meghalaya and RIDF has been a critical part of this collaboration.”
The 220 Hydroger projects being set up under Hydroger Mission, will encompass the whole of Meghalaya which has nearly 75% deficit in power generation. The Meghalaya Basin Development Authority (MBDA) which is overseeing the project hopes to take the total number of such projects to nearly 2000 over the next few years with total financial commitment of over Rs. 100 crore.
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