MANILA: The Asian Development Bank said on Friday that it had approved an $800m loan to help the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh expand hydropower g
eneration with a series of projects in the western Himalayas.
With the help of the eight-year loan package, Himachal Pradesh plans to harness five major rivers to build hydropower plants that will provide a combined capacity of 808 megawatts, the Manila-based bank said in a statement.
The ADB and the state government have identified two projects ready for financing through the first loan tranche of $150m, building the 111MW Sawra Kuddu project on the Pabber river, and civil works for the 65MW Kashang I project.
"Himachal Pradesh's focus on hydropower development will provide jobs to state residents and will further the state's and the country's goal of maximising this clean, indigenous resource to help meet its energy needs," said ADB energy economist Andrew Jeffries.
The mountainous area's power generation potential is 20,415MW --about 25% of India's total hydropower potential -- out of which only 6,150MW has been developed, the bank said.
India is critically short of energy to fuel its economy and imports more than 70% of its energy needs.