In what will be the first instance of an Indian hydroelectric power generation public sector undertaking (PSU) setting up a project overseas, Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVN) is in talks with a British firm for setting up a 700MW hydropower project in Georgia through a joint venture that may involve an investment of around $1 billion (Rs3,960 crore).
Power flow:Vishnu Prayag hydroelectric power project in Uttarakhand. Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd runs the largest hydroelectric power project in India and is eyeing opportunities in Nepal and Bhutan too.
“It will not be a 50:50 joint venture. We may have a smaller stake in the project,” a senior SJVN executive, who did not wish to be identified, said.
SJVN has adopted this strategy as it believes that, apart from the North-East, there are limited opportunities in the Indian hydropower sector due to the projects falling under the states’ ambit. “Since hydroelectric power projects are purely dependent on states’ involvement and commitment to a project, it is very difficult to set up projects here,” the executive added.
The company, which runs the largest hydroelectric power project in the country, has a net worth of around Rs4,465.19 crore. It plans to add 5,000MW additional capacity by 2014-15, which is estimated to involve an investment of Rs29,000 crore. The PSU is eyeing opportunities in Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
Of the country’s 135,000MW of power generation capacity, only 32,000MW is based on hydropower. India is seeking to add 78,577MW of generating capacity in the next five years, 16,553MW of it expected to come from hydroelectric power projects.
Kirit Parikh, member, energy, Planning Commission, had earlier said: “There are a lot of problems with the hydro projects. It does not get easier as they are a state subject.”
SJVN has seven hydroelectric power generation projects with a combined capacity of 4,074.5MW. Of these only Nathpa Jhakri (1,500MW) has been commissioned.
In another development, SJVN will also construct a 402MW project in Nepal at an investment of Rs4,000 crore.
“We are close to qualifying for the Arun-III project in Nepal for which nine companies had bid. We expect that the project will shortly be awarded to us,” the executive added.
Nepal has emerged as a favourite destination for Indian hydroelectric power generation companies given its huge untapped potential. Indian firms that have plans to set up hydroelectric projects in Nepal include Bhilwara Energy Ltd and GMR Infrastructure Ltd.