Which Place Is Famous For Geothermal Energy In India?

Geothermal energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. It is a renewable source of energy that utilizes the Earth’s natural heat. Geothermal energy has a wide range of applications including electricity generation, direct heating and cooling, and various industrial processes. India is estimated to have over 10,600 MW of geothermal power potential, making it a promising country for geothermal energy development. The natural heat beneath the Earth’s surface can be harnessed in areas with hydrothermal resources like hot springs or steam vents. With increasing focus on clean energy and energy security in India, geothermal energy has the potential to play a significant role in the country’s energy mix.

What is Geothermal Energy?

Geothermal energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. It originates from the original formation of the planet and from radioactive decay of minerals. The geothermal gradient, which is the difference in temperature between the core of the planet and its surface, drives a continuous conduction of thermal energy in the form of heat from the core to the surface.

Geothermal energy can be harnessed by utilizing hydrothermal resources, hot dry rock resources, and geopressured resources. Hydrothermal resources refer to natural reservoirs of hot water or steam that are trapped in permeable or porous rock under a layer of impermeable rock. This heated water can be directed through a pipe system to the surface to produce electricity or provide direct heating and cooling.

Hot dry rock resources involve injecting cold water into hot rocks deep underground at high pressure so the water flows through the fractures and cracks, heating up in the process. The resulting hot water and steam can then be harnessed. Geopressured resources consist of pressurized brines, waters, and associated dissolved natural gas found in some sedimentary basins.

Geothermal Energy Potential in India

India has significant potential for geothermal energy, especially in the Himalayan geothermal province which spans states like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, and Meghalaya. As per estimates by the Geological Survey of India (GSI), there is a geothermal potential of about 10,600 MW in India across seven geothermal provinces. The other major geothermal provinces include the Sohana region in northwest Haryana, Cambay graben in western India, the Son-Narmada-Tapi (SONATA) zone in central India, and Southern Granulite terrain in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.1

Some of the notable geothermal sites and fields identified in India include Puga Valley and Chhumathang in Jammu & Kashmir, Surajkund in Jharkhand, Tatapani in Chhattisgarh, Bakreshwar-Tantloi in West Bengal, and Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh. The Geological Survey of India estimates a potential capacity of about 2,020 MW in the Himalayan geothermal belt alone, with Jammu & Kashmir accounting for more than 65% of this.2

Major Geothermal Sites

India possesses excellent potential for geothermal energy, with estimates of around 10,600 MW of geothermal power potential (Surajkund, ref). The country has several major high-temperature geothermal resources suitable for power production, including:

    some of india's most promising geothermal sites with power generation potential are located in the himalayan region, including puga valley, tattapani, and manikaran.

  • Tattapani (Chhattisgarh): Tattapani has reservoir temperatures up to 105°C and could support up to 100 MW of power generation (Puga Valley, ref). It is considered one of India’s most promising geothermal sites.

  • Puga Valley (Ladakh): Located in northeast India, Puga Valley has temperatures exceeding 240°C at depth. Test drilling in the 1990s indicated potential for around 200-300 MW of geothermal power (Tattapani, ref).

  • Manikaran (Himachal Pradesh): Manikaran has a well-known geothermal spring used for cooking, bathing, and temple rituals. There is potential for 5-10 MW of power generation (Manikaran, ref).

Other major geothermal areas include Chhumathang in Sikkim, Cambay Graben in Gujarat, and Beas Valley in Himachal Pradesh (Chhumathang, ref). Several of these regions are located near the Himalayan geothermal belt and fault zones favorable for geothermal system formation.

Current Uses of Geothermal Energy in India

Currently, geothermal energy in India is primarily utilized for direct applications like heating, bathing, drying agricultural and animal products, etc. According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), there are nearly 300 hot springs in India that are suitable for such direct uses [1]. Some major examples include:

  • The hot springs in Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh have been used for cooking, bathing, and heating for centuries.
  • Hot springs in Tapovan in Uttarakhand are used for bathing and religious purposes.
  • Springs in Rajgir in Bihar are used for bathing and heating in winter.
  • Water from springs in Unai in Maharashtra is used for bathing as well as drying copra.

Apart from these direct applications, India also has some operational geothermal power projects, though they are limited in number. The country’s first geothermal power plant was set up in 1987 in Puga Valley in Ladakh. It had a capacity of 10 MW but was shut down later. Currently, India’s only operational geothermal power plant is located in Chhumathang in Sikkim, which has an installed capacity of 1 MW [2].

Overall, despite having good potential, the usage of geothermal energy for power generation is still very minimal in India. The government has plans to expand it, but there are significant challenges as well.

Challenges for Geothermal Energy

While geothermal energy has great potential in India, there are several challenges that have hindered its growth and adoption:

High upfront costs – Drilling geothermal wells can cost up to $5 million, which is a major barrier for project development. Many sites also require enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) technology, which adds to costs.

Limited policy framework – India lacks a comprehensive policy at the national level to promote geothermal development. Initiatives have been limited to states like Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.

Limited local expertise – There is a shortage of trained geothermal experts and engineers in India to identify resources, design projects, and operate plants. This leads to dependence on foreign companies.

Environmental concerns – There are worries about potential groundwater contamination, land subsidence, and disruption of natural hydrothermal features. Proper environmental regulations need to be enacted.

Other issues like land acquisition, evacuation infrastructure, and selecting appropriate sites also pose difficulties. Overcoming these challenges will be key for realizing India’s vast geothermal potential.

Government Initiatives

The Indian government has recognized the enormous potential of geothermal energy and has introduced various policies and initiatives to promote its development and utilization. Some of the major government initiatives are:

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy launched the Geothermal Energy Development program in 2010-11 with an aim to assess geothermal resources across India. Under this program, exploratory studies have been conducted in seven geothermal provinces. https://ksandk.com/energy/geothermal-energy-regulations-in-india-green-energy-future/

The Geological Survey of India has identified over 340 hot springs in the country that can be harnessed for power generation. It has also started surface studies at seven sites to identify geothermal reservoirs. https://policy.asiapacificenergy.org/node/2657

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has announced plans to develop geothermal energy projects totaling about 10,000 MW capacity by 2030 under the Geothermal Energy Development program.

Financial incentives like generation-based incentives, capital subsidies, and tax breaks have been introduced by the government to attract private players and foreign direct investment in the geothermal sector.

A geoscience database for geothermal energy has been developed by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in collaboration with state agencies and academic institutions.

Private Sector Involvement

The private sector has shown increasing interest in developing geothermal energy projects in India. Some key examples include:

Geothermal Core of Texas, USA signed a letter of intent to invest Rs 820 crore in producing geothermal energy in Uttar Pradesh (Times of India). They plan to set up a 49.9 MW geothermal power plant in Chitrakoot district.

Tata Power Limited is collaborating with the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to identify potential geothermal reserves for power generation (Economic Times). They aim to leverage ONGC’s existing knowledge of India’s geological formations.

Thermax Limited is pioneering geothermal applications in India through providing geothermal heat pumps and other technologies (Market Research Future). Their climate-friendly technologies help tap into geothermal reservoirs.

Future Outlook

The future outlook for geothermal energy in India is promising, with significant potential for growth. According to a 2022 report by the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP), India has the potential to generate over 10,000 MW of geothermal power by 2030 (https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/energy/india-has-potential-to-generate-10-000-mw-geothermal-energy-by-2030-cstep-84201). The government has set an ambitious target to reach 5,000 MW of installed geothermal capacity by 2030 under the National Geothermal Mission.

Several factors are expected to drive growth in the coming years. Firstly, there is increasing policy support from the government to incentivize geothermal development through initiatives like Geothermal Power and Direct Heat Production and Utilization Policy announced in 2021. Secondly, there is rising interest from the private sector and public sector companies like ONGC, NTPC and NLCIL to tap India’s geothermal potential. Thirdly, there is growing environmental awareness and demand for clean energy sources in India which makes geothermal an attractive renewable energy option.

According to an IEEE report, if India could tap even 10% of its geothermal potential, it could support about 30,000 MW of baseload, renewable electricity capacity (https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/10201540). Realizing the full potential will require investments in exploration, technological improvements, policy support, and stakeholder engagement. But the future looks bright for geothermal to grow into a major clean energy source for India.


In summary, geothermal energy has significant potential in India but remains underutilized. The country has several promising geothermal sites, primarily located in the Himalayan region and western and southern peninsular regions. While geothermal energy currently contributes little to India’s renewable energy mix, the government has taken steps to promote its development through policy initiatives and investments.

Key points:

  • India has substantial geothermal resources that could meet both electricity and direct heat needs.
  • Currently, geothermal energy generates only a small fraction of India’s renewable energy.
  • The most promising geothermal energy sites are located in the Himalayan region.
  • The government is promoting geothermal development through initiatives like Geothermal Energy Policy.
  • More investment and exploration is needed to realize India’s geothermal potential.

Developing geothermal energy can provide India with a reliable, sustainable energy source that reduces dependence on fossil fuels. Realizing the country’s geothermal potential will require dedicated policy support, technical expertise, and public-private collaboration. Unlocking this renewable resource can significantly advance India’s energy security and sustainability objectives.

Similar Posts