The government has decided to build the union territory (UT) of Ladakh the renewable energy hub of the country and also take steps to make the cold desert region carbon neutral by tapping geothermal, wind, solar and hydro energy.

These decisions were taken on Tuesday in a meeting that was presided by RK Singh, union minister of power. Ladakh’s Lt. Governor RK Mathur was also present through video conferencing in the meeting to discuss the renewable energy potentials and roadmap for carbon-neutral Ladakh.

During the meeting, a detailed discussion was made on the objectives, plan of action, bottlenecks and solutions to make Ladakh the renewable energy hub of India. Issues concerning Ladakh power scenario, energy demand and possibilities of replacing diesel with green hydrogen energy for electricity, heating and transportation purposes were deliberated at length.

MNRE, SECI, ONGC, NTPC and PGCIL officials apprised the Minister of the proposed pilot projects, other projects in pipelines, the present status of progress and current renewable energy initiatives to make Ladakh carbon neutral. The projects included harnessing the maximum potential of solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy combination to provide 24×7 electricity supply with increased storage facility.

Mathur stressed that green hydrogen would be the best alternative to make Ladakh carbon-neutral considering its production feasibility, climatic, geographic and road conditions of the region. He said that the success of 200 KW Green Hydrogen CHP pilot project at the SNM Hospital, Leh, would be a big achievement meeting the need of electricity, heating and oxygen and the model can be scaled up for the use of army and tourists.

The Lt. Governor informed the Minister that a committee will soon be constituted to find out a long term solution for land issues for all RE projects. He also requested to consider the possibility of heavy vehicles and load carriers in Ladakh to run on hydrogen fuel and electric buses for public transport.

The Minister exhorted the executing agencies participating in the meeting to submit a comprehensive project report with required data, conduct surveys, study feasibility, financial requirements, set time frames and give a go-ahead to start implementing the projects on the ground at the earliest.

He said that these projects will not only take Ladakh towards carbon neutrality but would also provide a sustainable source of income and employment generation.