The Arunachal Pradesh Government has joined forces with the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) to investigate the untapped geothermal energy potential offered by the state’s numerous hot springs. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was formally executed in the presence of Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Science and Technology Minister Honchun Ngandam, Chief Secretary Dharmendra, and Dr. Vivek Kumar, Senior Advisor of the Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu hailed this collaboration as a crucial step towards green and sustainable energy production, especially in light of global environmental concerns. He noted the significance of signing the MoU on World Tourism Day, which aligns perfectly with this year’s theme, “Tourism & Green Investment.”
Khandu expressed optimism that this initiative would lead to the development of renewable geothermal resources in Arunachal Pradesh, thus increasing energy supply to meet both current and future demands. He emphasized the potential impact on remote mountain areas currently reliant on fossil fuels for electricity and heating, which could transition to geothermal energy with zero CO2 emissions.
While acknowledging that this technology is new to the state, Khandu expressed confidence in NGI’s expertise, citing their successful project in Ladakh, and how it could revolutionize energy production in the high mountain regions, benefiting both local residents and the stationed military personnel.
Furthermore, Chief Minister Khandu expressed hope that Arunachal Pradesh’s collaboration with NGI would extend beyond geothermal energy exploration, particularly in road construction and tunneling. He highlighted the need for tailored technology given the region’s unique geological characteristics, which Norway, with its similar geological features, excels in with its world-class road infrastructure and tunnels.
Dr. Rajinder Bhasin, Technical Expert from NGI, supported Khandu’s view, emphasizing that Norway’s extensive tunnel network has significantly improved road distances and government revenue. Dr. Bhasin, after visiting West Kameng, recognized Arunachal Pradesh’s immense potential for infrastructure development, aiming to make it one of India’s premier tourist destinations.
Representing the Norwegian Embassy, Senior Advisor Dr. Vivek Kumar expressed readiness to facilitate cooperation between Norwegian agencies, experts, and the state government across various sectors. The current geothermal project also receives technical support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy through NGI.
The Centre for Earth Sciences & Himalayan Studies, an autonomous organization under the Department of Science & Technology for the Government of Arunachal Pradesh, has been collaborating with NGI to conduct feasibility studies for harnessing geothermal resources in the state.
The primary objective of this MoU is to create a facilitating mechanism for the two parties to collaborate on mutually agreed, progressive activities, addressing complex sub-surface geological and geotechnical challenges faced by the state. Initial efforts will involve geological, geochemical, and geothermal investigations at selected sites in Tawang and West Kameng districts, including MT Surveys to analyze deeper geoelectrical configurations of hot springs and assess the feasibility of utilizing geothermal energy resources for future use.