SHILLONG: There seems to be no immediate end to the persistent power outages in Meghalaya. Adding to the woes, the state’s Power Minister AT Mondal, on August 10, informed that a series of hydro projects, for which Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were signed several years ago, are facing the chopping block, with the Kynshi I project being the latest addition to the list of scrapings.
Mondal added that the government is opting to terminate the MOU with an independent power producer due to plans for a more viable model. This announcement comes in the wake of proposals put forward by the Hynniewtrep Youths’ Council (HYC) advocating for the rejuvenation and establishment of power projects such as the Rangmaw Hydel Project, Kynshi Hydel Project (Stage 2), and a thermal power plant in South West Khasi Hills, among others.
In the case of Kynshi II, the project’s dam height requires reconsideration, as the current planned height is deemed unfeasible. As for the Mawphu project, the government is grappling with land acquisition challenges, seeking assistance from NGOs to persuade landowners to partake in the project.
Turning to thermal power projects, the 500 MW venture proposed by NEEPCO has been abandoned due to the organisation’s shift away from thermal projects. Similarly, the 240 MW thermal project, which was to be developed by the DS group, has seen no progress as correspondence remains lacking.
Minister Mondal, however, expressed the government’s commitment to advancing select projects while striving to mitigate losses. Despite these setbacks, the state’s hydro projects, excluding Umiam, operate as run-of-the-river projects, delivering maximum capacity during the rainy season.
The dynamic nature of Meghalaya’s energy production is influenced by weather patterns, with daily power generation ranging from 4-5 million units on rainy days to around 1 million units during dry spells. As the energy landscape continues to evolve, the state grapples with striking a balance between sustainable energy solutions and the challenges posed by ongoing projects.