The planned 13 GW Renewable Energy Project in Ladakh, along with the Kashmir-Leh Green Energy Corridor Phase-II (GEC) and the Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) hold immense promise in addressing the energy deficit in Jammu & Kashmir. If managed well, the project could be critical in addressing the electricity shortage in Kashmir in the coming years. The GEC-II ISTS is planned to connect the 13 GW RE project to the Kashmir grid, which will reduce the region’s reliance on hydro energy.
This is important because hydro energy generation is affected by seasonal variations in rainfall and snowfall. Ostensibly, the 13 GW RE project needs a load centre – a consumer market – which is readily available in the close to ten million population centre of Kashmir. This project will significantly increase the power generation capacity of Kashmir, which is currently facing a power shortage and could help to meet the growing demand for electricity in the region. As per the technical details available about this critical project, the GEC-II ISTS will also be equipped with battery energy storage systems (BESS), which could ensure a year-round supply of power to Kashmir, even during the winter months when hydro energy generation is low. That is a critical aspect given that in winter months J&K’s hydro power production comes down significantly. The new transmission system will also improve the reliability of the power supply in Kashmir by providing multiple sources of power. This will help to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages. In addition to these benefits, the 13 GW RE project and the GEC-II ISTS will also help to reduce Kashmir’s carbon footprint and promote sustainable development.
What, however, is important is to plan the finances and sustainability aspects of the project in a manner that the power so produced and transmitted across the Leh-Srinagar transmission line is affordable to the common masses, who are already facing strains of the cost of the existing power.