India has one of the world’s largest potential for hydro
electric power. The hydro power potential in India is around 84,000 MW at
60% load factor (installed capacity 148,000 MW). However, less than 20% of
this has been harnessed so far.
Currently, hydro power contributes about 24% of total installed
generation capacity in the country.
The oldest hydro electric power plant in Asia is the Sidrapong Hydel
Power Station in Darjeeling. Its installed capacity was 130 kW and was
commissioned in 1897.
The largest hydro electric power project in India is the 2000 MW
Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (Assam- Arunachal Pradesh border).
Located across the Subansiri river, the project is currently under
construction and is expected to be commissioned in 2016-18.
The Brahmaputra river basin has the largest possible capacity for hydro
power in India (66,000 MW)
The advantages of hydro power include
Long life of projects
Low cost of operation and maintenance
Ability to start and stop quickly ot meet load demand