Geothermal Energy in India is non existent with not a single functioning plant as of 2011.However potential for this renewable energy source exists in a number of sites in India with a total potential of around 10 GW.With the Indian government planning to come out with a draft policy to develop geothermal energy by March 2011,major companies are gearing up to exploit this alternative energy resource.Note India has massive energy needs and with a 15% energy requirement from clean sources by 2020,it will need to develop all renewable sources.Note India already has a well developed Wind Energy Industry and has one of the fasted growing Solar Power Industry in the world with a massive future growth potential.Geothermal Energy is regarded as a poor cousin to its more glamorous cousins Wind and Solar.However Geothermal Energy possesses one attribute that the others do not.Its 24 hour generation capability is a massive plus compared to the intermittent nature of Wind and Solar Energy.However long project development time and large capital investments have deterred fast growth in geothermal energy in the world.However some countries like Iceland,Indonesia,Philippines and USA have a strong geothermal energy industry.
Here are some of the major companies planning to enter/entering the geothermal energy area in India
1) Tata Power – Tata Power holds an 11.4 percent stake in Geodynamics Ltd., which is building a geothermal plant with Origin Energy Ltd. in Australia.The company plans to set up two 5 MW plants in the western state of Gujarat.
2) Thermax – It is a major publicly listed power equipment company. The company has a JV with Iceland-based Reykjavik Geothermal to explore the Ratnagiri region in western Maharashtra state.A pilot 3 MW project is slated to be set up in Puga Valley in Ladakh.
3) Geosyndicate Power is founded by D Chandrasekharam, a professor at IIT Bombay. It has already entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Warangal-based Northern Power Distribution Company under the aegis of the Non-conventional Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh Limited (NEDCAP).The plant should come up by 2012 with with an initial capacity of 25 MW if the company can managed the financing of the cost of the $ 64.66 million plant in the Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh (AP).
4) Panax Geothermal – Panax is an Australian company which has tied up with Geosyndicate to develop a 60 MW plant in Puga,Himachal Pradesh.However the project is still in the very intial stage with permits or a PPA.
5) Avin Energy – This is a small company which plans to develop a 5 MW plant in Gujarat.However it seems to being having difficulty in finding financing and seems to have changed its focus to solar energy.
6) NTPC – The 800 pound government owned power utility has its fingers in all the energy pies in the country.The company had tied up with National Geophysical Research Institute to identify potential sites for geothermal power projects in the country but nothing has come up as of now.
7) LNJ Bhilwara – The LNJ Bhilwara Group had tied up with the now bankrupt Glitnir Bank of Iceland for a $10 million investment into geothermal energy E&P.A with others,nothing has resulted from the JV a nd with one of the partners bankrupt,the future looks quite uncertain.
Geothermal Energy in India like other places in the world is moving at a snail’s pace due to project development and financing problems.However,the potential of this energy resource is immense which can be seen as 24% of Iceland’s energy demand is being met by geothermal energy.India is capable of generating 10 GW which is the entire world’s generating geothermal capacity.However it needs strong government support and incentives along with financing to develop its potential.