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Lower temperature to worsen power situation
Sudheer Pal Singh in New Delhi
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July 10, 2008 11:46 IST

The power deficit in the country is set to intensify in the coming months as lower-than-expected temperatures continue to threaten hydro power generation. Lower temperatures decrease melting of ice glaciers which feed the water reservoirs, which are used to generate hydro power.

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Water Resources, the water storage position in major reservoirs has gone down to a record low of 34.86 billion cubic metres (bcm) -- about 22 per cent of the total storage capacity of 151.76 bcm of all the 81 reservoirs taken together.

The storage level was above 26 per cent last year.

Of the total 81 reservoirs in the country, 36 have significant hydro power potential with an installed capacity of more than 60 Mw each. The ministry has said that in 23 out of these major 36 reservoirs, water storage levels are less than the average storage level of the last 10 years (17 per cent).

This reduced water storage level could mean lesser hydro power generation in the days to come and can become a serious cause of concern for hydro power generation companies.

"Water storage lesser than the threshold level can produce serious difficulties for running of power plant. This can even result in shutting down of plants," said a senior official from Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd.

Hydro power capacity accounts for a quarter of the country's overall installed capacity of about 150,000 Mw.

The power ministry had earlier announced that a greater part of the capacity addition target in coming months is to come from nuclear- and gas-based power plants, which might not happen.

The ministry has set up a total capacity addition target of 11,061 Mw in the current year (2008-09).

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