Energy Situation Uttarakhand, India

From energypedia

Status of the Power Sector

Uttarakhand was formed in the year 2000 after the bifurcation of Uttar Pradesh. This separation from Uttar Pradesh propelled Uttarakhand on an upward growth path. However, the status of an independent state brought in pressures on Uttarakhand in terms of the development and infrastructure needs of the state and the capital Dehradun to meet the increasing economic and political activities. This lead to an increase in the energy demand of the state too but the current power situation does not seem to be meeting it. As per the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the anticipated demand of the energy for Uttarakhand for the year 2011-12 is 10480 MU and the available energy is 8363 MU; while the peak demand of the state is 1600 MW and the availability is of 1430 MW.[1]

While Uttarakhand has certainly showed signs of growth in the last decade, the growth has not been a homogenous one. The growth process in Uttrakhand has been limited to the plain districts eluding the hilly areas, as most of the manufacturing units are located in the plain districts. 40% of the population of the state still lives below poverty line. Uttarkhand is a unique case of poverty as the state has a very low rate of unemployment and yet the incidence of poverty is very high. This hints towards the low wage and income rate in the state leading to a peculiar problem called 'a problem of the working poor'.Thus there is an ask for meeting the productive employment demands of the rural popultaion in the state.[2] This can be achieved through an efficient and reliable access to energy for the rural population. Also the development approaches are heavily dependent on the conventional energy sources that worked for the plains, might not prove much effective in the hills due to the associated difficult terrain.

Energy Capacity

Installed Capacity of Uttrakahand Power Utility (in MW)[3]:

Total Installed Capacity










  • RES: Renewable Energy Souces (includes: small hydro, biogas, biomass, waste and wind energy)

Energy Consumption

Energy, particularly, power consumption in the state of Uttarakhand has grown more than 5 times in the last eight years (2002- 2010). Electricity consumption in the domestic sector of Uttarakhand has been quite substantial and higher than the country’s average, but over the years this proportion has shifted in favor of the industrial sector. In 2001-02 around 45 per cent of the total
electricity consumption was in the domestic sector which dropped to 29 per cent by 2006-07. With the increasing demand from the industrial sector, in 2006-07 almost 40 per cent of the total electricity consumption was by industries (Table 38). The share of
electricity consumption for farming purposes has declined substantially from 14.4 per cent in 2001-02 to 9.9 per cent although the total actual electricity consumption has marginally increased.

Electricity Consumption by different sectors in Uttarakhand[4]:



















2229.09 MW
3885.96 MW
  • Others include street lighting, water works and traction & railways.

It can be deduced from the table above that the percentage share of electricity consumption has increased only for commercial and industrial sectors. Since both the types of activities are usually concentrated in the urban settlements and industrial areas (plains in case of Uttrakhand), this tells us about the grim picture of the electricity consumption in the hilly rural areas.

Energy Supply

Share of Electricity of Uttarakhand: 8936 MU for 2009-10[5]:

State Generation


Central Share




As is evident from the table above, the state is able to meet only 52% of its power needs through its own resources. Although, currently, Uttarakhand is an exporter; it plans to become an importer of power in the coming years.

Rural Electrification

As per 1991 census, there are 15681 villages in the state of Uttarakhand. As of 31st march 2005, out of these 15681 villages, 13783 have been electrified which amounts to 85% of the total villages.[6] Whereas, as per the 2001 census, 50.35% of rural households have been electrified.[7] Around 96 per cent of the rural villages in Uttarakhand are provided with electricity by Uttarakhand Power Corporation Ltd. UREDA, Micro-Hydel and Kuteer Jyoti connections are also prevalent but in less so in villages.

Constrains and Opportunities


Power supply through the grid system to interior villages in mountainous terrain is expensive and challenging due to:

  1. poor load characteristics
  2. adverse topographical features
  3. harsh weather conditions
  4. scattered households
  5. low population density


Though there are problems related to the financial viability of decentralized power generation by the public sector, non-government community efforts have proved to be promising. Poor people, who cannot afford electricity under government schemes, contribute labour and marginal cash as their contribution to their community’s efforts to get access to reliable and cheap electricity.[8]Renewable Energy options (given below) can be particularly effective given the constrains mentioned above.

Hydro Power

Uttarakhand has got enormous potential for hydropower generation. Apart from its large and medium hydropower potential, which is estimated to be 20,000 megawatts, it also has huge potential for small, mini- and micro- hydropower generation.[9]Hydropower potential of the state can be harnessed and used for its development.

Power Through Watermills

As per UREDA estimates, some 15,000 traditional watermills called Gharats exist in partially functioning or defunct condition in the State of Uttarakhand. After upgradation, they hold the potential of providing 5 KW of electricity which can not just light the neighbouring areas; but can also be sued for some productive applications like milling, drying and thrashing of grains or for fibre- processing activities like spinning, dyeing, drying, etc. If these water mill resources are upgraded and amnaged ina planned and organized manner they can be a significant source of cheap power for the rural population of Uttarakhand.

Pine Needle Gasification

Uttarakhand, being a state located in the Indian Himalayas, is dominated by pine forests. Pine needles, although being used for cooking purposes occasionally, are not a favoured fuel due to the release of nitrogenous compounds during combustion. However, a new process to utilize the pine needles, while avoiding the nitrogenous emissions, has been developed i.e. electricity generation through the gasification of pine needles.

Power for Cooking & Heating

Due to the difficult terrain and inaccessibility of many of the remote areas of the state, providing CNG or LPG is a difficult task. However, the cooking wand water heating requirements can be met through solar cookers and solarw ater heaters respectively. The alternative in the form of the use of improved cooskstoves could also be lucrative to meet the cooking needs in the villages of Uttarakhand. The briquettes of charcoal which is a residue of the pine needle gasification process can be used for cooking purposes.

Policy Framework, Laws & Regulations

Institutions Involved

  • Uttarakhand Renewable Energy development Agency (URDEA): is the state nodal agency for RE programmes. EnergyConservation and DDG projects under RGGVY, implemention of various renewable energy programmes by involving local panchayat, Districtadministration etc. are its key areas of work.
  • Uttarakhand Electricity Regulatory Commission (UERC): promotes generation of electricity from RE by providing connectivity to the grid and setting measures for sale of electricity and fixing the percentage of RE generated electricity in the total electricity supply by a dsitributor.
  • Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited (UPCL): is the state power distribution utility. UPCL executes the Power purchase Agreement (PPA) with the power generating company, be it through RE, cogeneration or conventional sources.

Further Information


  1. Central Electricity Authority, Ministry of Power. load generation Balance Report. 2011-12
  2. Mamgain. P.R. Growth, Poverty and Employment in Uttarakhand. Journal of Labour and Development. Volume 13 No. 2 & 1, June 2008
  3. Ministry of Power as of 31st December 2011
  4. Indiastat ( from Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, GOI and Uttarakhand Power Corporation Limited
  5. UERC
  6. CEA Data March 2005
  8. "Development Strategy for the Hill Districts of Uttarakhand",Mittal.S,Tripathi.G,Sethi.D, Working paper No. 217, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, July 2008