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NTPC thinks big on hydel power

The country’s largest thermal power producer, the $36 billion (Rs 1,72,000 crore) NTPC Ltd, is all set to establish a foothold in hydroelectric projects. Anupama Airy reports.

business Updated: Oct 06, 2009 21:16 IST
Anupama Airy

The country’s largest thermal power producer, the $36 billion (Rs 1,72,000 crore) NTPC Ltd, is all set to establish a foothold in hydroelectric projects.

After adding over 30,000 mw of coal-based power in the country, the state-owned company has been entrusted with the task of developing a shelf of hydro power projects with a capacity of over 2,300 mw in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The move is expected to be a big boost for the entire north India. States like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, which are guilty of overdrawing power from the grid leading to power failures, face huge demand-supply mismatches.

“While power capacity addition by thermal projects is already underway, adding capacities by way of hydro power is a sure-shot recipe for curtailing peak power shortages in states,” KK Singh GM, NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad hydro-power project, told Hindustan Times.

NTPC, which will commission four power projects totalling 1500 mw in Uttarakhand alone by 2017, said it has advanced the commissioning of the 520-mw (Rs 3,000 crore) Tapovan Vishnugad project by six months.

“We are planning to bring the project for benefits in the 11th plan itself. This will also make Tapovan as the first hydel project to be commissioned by NTPC so far,” Singh said.

However, Singh said that while NTPC had earlier conceived Tapovan Vishnugad as a merchant power project, the company is planning to convert it into a regular power project by entering into power purchase agreements (PPAs) with beneficiary states in the northern region.

The 600-mw Loharinag Pala and the Tapovan Vishnugad projects are currently under construction, while land has been acquired for the 171-mw Lata Tapovan project. Land acquisition is underway for the 261-mw Rupsia Bhagar Khasia Bara project.

The installed power generation capacity in Uttarakhand stands at over 2,800 mw and around 20,000 mw hydro potential has been identified throughout the state.