Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHEP)

  • Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHEP) trial runs: In July, NHPC Limited, a government of India corporation, would commence Project trial runs.
  • The largest in India: After a 20-year wait, India is finally on the verge of launching India’s largest hydroelectric project, which is critical for the region’s energy shift.
  • NHPC Ltd Information: The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd, formerly known as NHPC Limited, is India’s major hydropower development organisation.

Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (SLHEP) Information

  • The gravity dam: On the Subansiri River, it is a 116-meter-high concrete gravity dam.
  • The dam is roughly 2.3 kilometres upstream of the Subansiri River in Arunachal Pradesh, India.
  • Accessibility: The project is located near North Lakhimpur on the Arunachal Pradesh-Assam border. Nagaon is the nearest railhead, and Lilabari/Dibrugarh is the nearest airport.
  • Project on the river’s edge: The project developer, NHPC Limited, identifies the SLHEP as a run-of-the-river project, implying that its design strives to maintain the river’s natural flow.
  • Power generation capacity: When finished, the SLHEP will have a capacity of 2,000 MW, making it one of India’s largest hydroelectric projects.

Construction difficulties

  • Natural obstacles: During construction, the project encountered significant hurdles, including landslip issues, the necessity to rethink certain sections, and opposition from various groups.
  • Delayed completion: Originally expected to be completed in 2018, the project has been delayed, adding to its ongoing construction status.
  • NGT permission: On July 31, 2019, the SLHEP gained clearance from the National Green Tribunal (NGT), authorising the resumption of main dam construction works on October 15, 2019.
  • Work on the SLHEP and other large dam projects in the Assam region, such as the Dibang Dam, had encountered obstacles and were not developing as predicted as of early 2019.

Benefits provided

  • Cascade formation and flood control: It is expected to reduce floods in the Subansiri River while also bringing overall development to the area, which would assist the local economy.
  • Hydropower boost: As solar and wind power generation increase, hydropower will play an increasingly important role in balancing the electrical grid.

Strategic Positioning

  • Its strategic importance is heightened by its proximity to India’s border with China.
  • The project is geopolitically significant because it is located in Arunachal Pradesh, which shares a border with China.
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