In a significant move toward greener energy in India, the Government of India, the Government of Himachal Pradesh, and the World Bank have joined forces in a $200 million project aimed at implementing power sector reforms and increasing the use of renewable energy (RE) in Himachal Pradesh. The project aligns with Himachal Pradesh’s ambitious goal to achieve 100 percent renewable and green energy consumption by 2030, making it a ‘Green State.’
At present, Himachal Pradesh already meets over 80 percent of its energy requirements through hydropower. The World Bank’s Himachal Pradesh Power Sector Development Program seeks to optimize the state’s existing RE resources, particularly hydropower, and diversify its renewable energy portfolio. Part of the plan includes the addition of 150 megawatts of solar capacity, which is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 190,000 metric tons annually.
The agreement was formally signed by representatives from all parties involved: K Manicka Raj, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance for the Government of India; Harikesh Meena, Director (Energy) on behalf of the Government of Himachal Pradesh; and Auguste Tano Kouame, Country Director, India, representing the World Bank.
Auguste Tano Kouamé, the World Bank’s Country Director for India, highlighted the program’s positive impact, saying, “The Program will boost local economic activity while replacing fossil-fuel based energy consumption with green energy. Moreover, the Program will support HP to set up a single energy trading desk, thus enabling the sale of surplus hydropower to other states.”
This initiative is expected to serve as a model for future investments in renewable energy in India, contributing to the country’s broader transition to cleaner energy sources.
Given Himachal Pradesh’s challenging hilly terrain, the program aims to strengthen the state’s transmission and distribution grid, introducing advanced technologies like a demand response management system and seamless access to renewable energy. This is critical during peak load periods when the state would otherwise rely on expensive fossil-fuel-based power sources. The implementation of automated systems is a crucial step toward providing reliable, 24×7 power supply, reducing outages, and minimizing consumer complaints.
The program also focuses on enhancing environmental, social, financial management, corporate governance, and procurement capabilities of the state’s power sector utilities and agencies. Furthermore, it aims to create job opportunities in specialized technical and managerial fields within the sector, particularly for women. Approximately 700 female apprentices will be trained by HP power utilities, providing them with hands-on experience and training in technical roles.
Surbhi Goyal and Pyush Dogra, team leaders for the Program, emphasized, “The Program will promote good and sustainable practices within the power utilities in the state to transition them to run a green and low carbon electricity system, contributing to the state’s goal to be one of the first ‘Green States’ in the country.”
The $200 million loan for this project, provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a final maturity of 14.5 years, including a grace period of 4.5 years.