On Tuesday, India approved its largest-ever hydropower project in the Lower Dirang Valley District of Arunachal Pradesh on the Dibang river.
The central government has approved an estimated investment of 319 billion rupees for the 2,880-megawatt project developed by the state-run National Hydroelectric Power Corporation.
The project is estimated to be completed in nine years, with the primary objective to serve flood control.
India seeks to build renewable generation to meet rising demand, transitioning away from coal to help manage the fluctuations caused by intermittent solar and wind supplies.
The dam will be India’s tallest dam with a height of 278 meters. According to Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator for the nonprofit South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, the dam will be built over more than 5,000 hectares (12,360 acres) of forest land, will face local protests due to the dislocation of communities and large-scale environmental damage.
Thakkar said, “The cost is going to be much higher and benefits much lower.” The company’s nine-year timeline is optimistic when accounting for potential delays because of local protests and geological difficulties, he added.
Rs. 241 crores will be spent on the community and social development plan, and Rs. 327 lakhs will be spent on a plan to safeguard the local people’s culture and identity, reported LiveMint.