Innovations and Innovative Applications of Technology in the Planning and Design of Hydro Power Projects

The need to harness hydropower potential is imperative especially in the light of its enormity and the benefits. However, realities in implementing such projects have to be considered – such as – remoteness of project sites, long gestation period, need of sizeable initial investment, meeting various regulatory requirements, uncertainties in completing the project and incurring of cost and time overruns. These realities are dampening the euphoria about developing the so-called ‘clean and cheap’ hydropower within a perceptible time horizon. The need of the hour is to keep up the level of confidence and enthusiasm and to infuse comfort, resource, and impetus into the hydropower sector. This calls for a concerted effort of all concerned, such as policymakers, decision-makers, developers, environmentalists, financiers, beneficiaries, engineers and consultants, contractors and workers, and equipment manufacturers and suppliers. However, the importance of innovation is paramount.

Innovation encompasses applying innovative tools and techniques, incorporating innovative procedures for risk-identification and risk-management, procuring and using more productive and newly designed plants and equipment, adopting novel approaches for mitigating detrimental impacts of developmental activities, and indulging in out-of-box thinking to deal with site-specific difficulties and local issues. Innovations in this respect hold the potential of ensuring substantial savings in time and cost of execution, and in harnessing time and cost overruns. Consequentially, the eventual goal of ensuring enhancements of the reliability of execution returns from investment, and efficiency of plant operation and maintenance can be achieved.

The application of Innovative technologies and concepts in implementing a hydropower project in any developing country of the world is of paramount importance today and holds the key to the successful execution of a hydropower project. This can be achieved through geological, environmental, and societal risk-mitigation, enhancement of techno-economic viability, reliability of return on investment, ensuring acceptance by project-affected people, and boosting the confidence of all stakeholders.
There is ample scope for innovations in the implementation of a hydropower project that encompasses science and technology, arts and commerce, and calls for a holistic approach to problem-solving.

An objective assessment of the impact of employing an innovation through scenario analysis can throw light on the importance of innovation in hydropower project development.

Share your thoughts to explore the scope for innovations and the innovative applications of technologies in the planning and design of hydropower projects, and the roles that various stakeholders can play in enabling innovation in hydropower project implementation.

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