27 Mar 2024

Geothermal in Arunachal Pradesh, India Progresses With Field Study

27 Mar 2024  by thinkgeoenergy   

Lake at Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India (source: TheSomdeep, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
Field investigations to evaluate geothermal potential have been conducted in selected sites at the West Kameng and Tawang districts in Arunachal Pradesh, India. The field studies were done jointly by The Centre of Earth Sciences & Himalayan Studies (CES&HS), the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), and Iceland-based company Geotropy.

The field campaign follows the signing of an MOU between the Government of Arunachal Pradesh and NGI to collaborate and explore the feasibility of harnessing geothermal energy from the state’s hot springs. The MOU covers geological and geochemical studies in Tawang and West Kameng districts, but MT surveys are also planned to better understand the subsurface in the study areas and better assess the feasibility of commercial-scale geothermal development.

Signing of MoU between the Arunachal Pradesh Government and the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (source: Pema Khandu via Twitter)

Under the guidance of CES&HS Director Tana Tage, the trilateral team gathered samples for geochemical studies and performed structural geological analyses. This marks the first-even feasibility study for geothermal conducted in the Arunachal Pradesh region.

The goal of the field exploration and subsequent analyses is to demonstrate the feasibility of the utilization of geothermal energy across a spectrum of applications. Drying of agricultural products, heating and cooling of households, cold storage, and tourism are among the applications being considered under the study. Dr. Rajinder Bhasin of NGI highlighted a successful pilot project in Chumathang village which successfully harnessed geothermal energy for space heating.

Dr. Bhoop Singh, scientific advisor to CES&HS, emphasized the importance of establishing a pilot geothermal demonstration projects in Arunachal Pradesh, saying that such a success can pave the way for large-scale utilization of geothermal energy in the region.

Geothermal drilling operations by state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) at the Puga Valley in Ladakh encountered high-pressure steam after drilling to a depth of only around 40 meters. Drilling had to be paused during the winter of 2022, following reports of geothermal fluids flowing into the Puga Stream. The current plan is to resume drilling in 2024 pending the arrival of a larger drilling rig.


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