Title: Energy and Food Security Using Geothermal Energy: A case study of Chumathang, Union Territory of Ladakh, India

Author(s): Kunzes Dolma
University Thesis
Year of publication:
United Nations University, Geothermal Training Programme
Place of publication:
Number of pages:
Document URL: Link


Energy and food are the two essential requirements for national security of any
country. India is the third largest consumer of oil in the world, the fourth largest
oil refiner and a net exporter of refined oil products. India is dependent on import
of fossil fuel for meeting its energy demands which was 80% in 2018. Heating,
Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) accounts for 60% of the electricity
demands of the country. The dependence on fossil fuels can be reduced by using
locally available renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal. A
solution is also required to the problem of energy access in remote areas where a
reliable supply from the national grid is not available. This thesis investigates the
feasibility of utilizing low enthalpy geothermal energy to provide energy and food
security specially in remote areas. A case study of the Chumathang village located
at 3,950 masl in Union Territory of Ladakh shows the socio-economic impact of
geothermal utilization in remote areas by using a low enthalpy geothermal and how
it can solve the current problem of food and energy security. A 5 MW binary power
plant would solve the electricity problem of the area and provide reliable and clean
energy which could replace the current installed 20 kW diesel generator. A
commercial greenhouse of 1,000 m2 would be able to supply year-round fresh
vegetables. With an average cost of 1.5 USD/kg for vegetables, and a tariff of 0.07
USD/kWh for the electricity, the NPV is positive with 2.26 MUSD and breakeven
point after 9 years of project operation. The case study shows that such projects
lead to employment opportunities, prevent migration of people in search of jobs,
add to food and energy security of the region, and improves the health of people.
This is especially important for women in the region who bear most of the burden
of domestic work and are most impacted due to not having access to energy. Such
a model can be replicated in any low temperature geothermal remote areas

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