India turns to geothermal energy
NEW DELHI: Power deficient India is planning to use geothermal energy to produce 10,600 megawatts of power, five times more than the combined output from all non-conventional energy sources.
The first such plant is being set up in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. Officials say this renewable energy would come at a throwaway cost, less than one third of hydropower. China on the other side of the border has already set up a geo-thermal plant.
Officials associated with the project say that they have already completed preliminary investigations in Ladakh. A five-member team led by Dr D Chanrasekharam, head of the Earth Sciences Department at the Indian Institute of Technology, that visited the region recently is submitting a blue print to the government. Experts have identified geo-thermal reservoirs in Puga valley of Ladakh. Hundreds of people suffering from rheumatism and skin diseases visit the area for hot water sulphur and borax baths.
Geologists have dug up holes as deep as 300 metres and they have noted that temperatures were over 200 degrees Celsius. For commercial exploitation, they will dril up to 1,000 metres.
Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is keen on the project, believes that it could be a pilot project for tapping huge geo-thermal resources available across India. According to Chandrasekharam, India has the capacity to produce 10,600 megawatts of geo-thermal power. The Puga take off could help in the electrification of the arid Ladakh region that is now also fast emerging as a tourist spot. Indian has 400 medium to high enthalpy geothermal springs, clustered in seven provinces
Geothermal energy, created by the continuous molten rocks in the heart of earth, has been used for thousands of years in some countries for cooking and heating. The usefulness of reserves depends on its temperature and accessibility to water. iftikhar gilani