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India's Jammu and Kashmir pursuing massive hydroelectric expansion

SRINAGAR, Jammu & Kashmir, India 6/14/12 (PennWell) -- The government of Jammu & Kashmir reemphasized its commitment to adding about 8,000 MW of hydropower capacity in the next decade, HydroWorld.com has learned.

The Indian state's goal was a topic of discussion at a recent two-day convention, where J&K Minister of State for Power Shabir Ahmad Khan says the development could "bring a turnaround in the state's economy and power situation."

Khan says a number of projects are in the bidding stage, while others are still being planned. The Baglihar II, Uri II, Nimo Bazgo, Chutak and Kishan Ganga hydroelectric projects -- which will have a total combined capacity of 1,959 MW -- are already under construction.

Meanwhile, the 1,000-MW Pakaldull, 93-MW New Ganderbal, 48-MW Lower Kalani and 37.5-MW Parnai plants are in the contract award phase, and the 1,850-MW Sawlakote, 240-MW Kirthai-I, 990-MW Kirthai-II, 60-MW Kiru and 520-MW Kawar projects seeking approval.

The hydropower development will not only allow J&K to be energy independent, Khan says, but also an exporter of power.

"J&K is a hydro state," Khan says. "It is our responsibility to exploit all our hydroelectric potential for not only all-around development of our state, but our whole country."

To succeed, however, the plan will require financing. "Development of hydroelectric projects requires substantial investments and the objectives of rapid development of hydropower potential cannot be met by state funding alone," Khan says.

Khan says J&K has begun looking toward alternative investment possibilities like private partnerships, federal funding and private sector investments.

HydroWorld.com reported last June that the J&K State Power Development Corporation had signed a deal with National Hydroelectric Power Corporation of India and PTC India to develop 2,120 MW of new hydro power.

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