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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

5 Himachal hydroelectric projects shut down as rains trigger silting in rivers

cities Updated: Aug 09, 2019 19:42 IST

Incessant rains in the last 48 hours in Himachal Pradesh, particularly in the tribal areas of Kinnaur, have disrupted electricity generation owing to heavy silting of rivers due to landslides.

Operations at the 1,500 megawatt (MW) Nathpa Jhakri hydroelectric project had to be shut down late on Thursday after the silt level increased in the turbulent Sutlej river.

Silt levels in Sutlej varied from 16,000 particles per million (ppm) to 25,000 ppm, much higher than the permissible limit 5,000 ppm. The dam is located at Khab in Kinnaur while the power station is located at Jhakri near Shimla’s Rampur town.

“Operations had to be shut down to prevent damage to the machinery from silt,” said Sanjeev Sood, chief engineer and head of the project, Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited that owns the 1,500 MW project.

“The project has incurred a daily loss to the tune of ₹11 crore for remaining shut. The silt is abnormally high in Sutlej,” said Sood.

SJVN Ltd-owned 412 MW Rampur project, situated at the tail end of the Nathpa Jhakri project, was also shut down due to silting.

Rains further caused silting in the 1,091 MW Jindal Steel Works-owned, Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant. In wake of heavy silt deposits, project authorities had to open the radial gates of the dam at Wangtoo.

“Flash floods led to debris slide in the river, raising the silt levels enormously. Two vehicles fitted with hooters were deputed to warn people living along the Sutlej river. Flood gates had to be opened as water level rose tremendously in the dam,” said deputy commissioner, Kinnaur, Gopal Chand.

Operations at the 300-MW Baspa-II project also came to a halt. The project is located on the Baspa river tributary of the Sutlej. The diversion barrage of the project is located at Kuppa village near Sangla and the power house is located near Karcham village in Kinnaur, about 800 metre upstream of the confluence of rivers Satlej and Baspa, on NH-22 Hindustan Tibet Road.

Meanwhile, the Sanjay Vidyut Pariyojana hydroelectric project located on Bhabha river was shut down as well. The entire switchyard of the project is underground and has a total installed capacity of 120 MW, comprising three units each of 40 MW.

The five hydroelectric projects are the main sources of electricity for the northern grid that powers Delhi, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand and Haryana.

“Closure of the projects has led to power outages in the northern grid as well as Himachal. It has led to a shortfall of nearly 3,423 MW power. Himachal itself had a shortfall of 800 MW. The power shortage was met from the requisitioned pool,” said Sunil Grover, managing director, Himachal Pradesh State Load Dispatch Centre, adding, “The shortage did not disrupt electricity supplies in the state.”

Government authorities hope the power generation will resume within the next 24 hours. The weatherman, however, has predicted more rains across the state in the coming days.

First Published: Aug 09, 2019 19:42 IST

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