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ONGC taking up India’s first geothermal project in Ladakh

ONGC to develop India's first geothermal project in Ladakh (IANS)

Energy giant ONGC will implement India’s first Geothermal field development project in Ladakh as a first step to making the union territory carbon neutral. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to go ahead with the move has been inked by ONGC Energy Centre (OEC) with the Union Territory of Ladakh and Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council.

Geothermal energy is an energy source that is stored in the form of heat beneath the earth's surface, which is clean, uninterrupted and environment-friendly. It is the only renewable energy available 24×7 to mankind not requiring storage and unaffected by day-night or seasonality variance.

India has seven geothermal provinces which have been mapped by Geological Survey of India (GSI) and broad estimate suggests that there could be 10 GW geothermal power potential as per Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

ONGC said this project will put India on the geothermal power map of the world. Geothermal resource development can revolutionize farming in Ladakh, which is now totally dependent for supply of fresh vegetables, fruits from outside the UT round the year. Further, direct heat energy applications make it most relevant to Ladakh, the oil company said.

ONGC has planned this field development in Ladakh in three phases. Phase-I involves exploratory-cum-production drilling of wells up to 500 metres depth and setting up of a Pilot Plant of up to one MW power capacity. Phase-II would involve deeper and lateral exploration of geothermal reservoir by drilling of optimal number of wells and setting up pof a higher capacity demo pant and preparing a detailed project report. Phase-III would involve commercial development of the geothermal plant.

Puga and Chumathang in Eastern Ladakh happen to be the most promising geothermal fields in India. These areas were discovered in 1970s and initial exploratory efforts were made in 1980s by Geological Survey of India (GSI). But development efforts to exploit geothermal energy by government as well as private agencies had not materialised so for. After creation of UT Ladakh, efforts were taken up earnestly by ONGC Energy Centre, culminating in this MoU, ONGC said.