Responsible hydropower development in India: challenges for the future

Hydropower is an important source of renewable energy. In recent years, both at the national level and in various states, policy impetus has been given for increasing hydropower generation through new projects and by encouraging private sector investment. The importance of hydropower increases given that only around 16% of the hydro potential in the country has been used even as the country remains woefully short of electricity to meet growing demand. But a renewed focus on hydroelectric projects may result in a situation of “rapid” hydropower development rather than social and environmentally “responsible” hydropower development. This article argues that, although hydropower will continue to remain an important source for electricity, focus needs to be on “responsible” hydropower development. Responsible hydropower development is also likely to ensure more stable and sustainable investment in the sector over the medium-to-long term.