India is yet to tap 80 per cent of its estimated Small Hydropower Potential (SHP) of 15,000 MW, which can be a major source of environment-friendly and cost-effective electricity generation.
Tapping Small Hydro Power (SHP) is all the more important now as global warming is posing a threat to the environment, throwing up vital issues like drinking water scarcity, according to energy management expert Dr VK Damodaran.
Of the country's estimated SHP of 15,000, only 16 per cent has been developed so far. At least 50 per cent could be developed immediately, Dr Damodaran, Vice-chairman of Kerala Energy Management Centre, said in a paper presented to the national workshop on Global Warming here recently.
This could be done with private participation or community involvement. "What is expected from the Government is proper, pro-active policies to facilitate development of SHPs",he said
As done by European Union recently and China some 50 years back, framework directives should be put in place on simultaneous and multi-purpose use of water resources, he told PTI.
Hydro electricity is the world's leading source of renewable energy, supplying 19 per cent of electricity. But SHP accounts for only 10 to 12 per cent of hydel power, though it accounts for 63 per cent of renewable energy sources.
The greatest advantage of SHP over other sources of electricity is that it is most environment-friendly. When an SHP produces on kWh electricity, its environmental impact is 300 times less than with lignite, 250 times lower than coal, 125 times less than uranium and 50 times less compared to natural gas, he said.