NHPC’s hydro power plans gather steam

NHPC’s hydro power plans gather steam

New Delhi: National Hydroelectric Power Corp. (NHPC), India’s largest hydrolectric power generation company, is poised to develop power projects with a combined capacity of 1,180MW in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). “We have prepared the DPRs (detailed project reports) for the projects at Kiru, Rattle, Shamnot and Kawar in J&K, and are open to develop them through the joint venture route along with a state government-nominated agency," said S.K. Garg, chairman and managing director.

DPRs are critical in executing hydro power projects as they are required for both regulatory and financial clearances. These include a thorough survey and investigation, DPR preparation, relocation and resettlement of affected population and infrastructure development. On an average it takes around five years to execute a hydro project after it is cleared for construction.

The company plans to hold a majority stake in the project, which is estimated to cost Rs6,000 crore and will be constructed on the Chenab river.

“A lot of focus is on hydro power projects as coal has become expensive and gas is not available. Nuclear is still in the doldrums. Though being a very effective option for power generation, it comes with its own sets of implementation issues," says Hitul Gutka, an analyst at India Infoline, a Mumbai-based brokerage firm.

Explaining the rationale behind partnering the state government for executing these projects, Garg said: “Partnering the state government adds strength and also helps in getting the requisite clearances. It also helps in solving complex problems associated with a hydroelectric power project."

NHPC plans to raise Rs28,000 crore in equity and debt over the next five years to help fund an increase in its power generation capacity to 10,000MW by 2012. Of this Rs17,000 crore would accrue as debt. The company has an installed capacity of 4,200MW and added 1,917MW during the 10th Plan period (2002-07). It is currently engaged in the construction of 12 projects aggregating a total installed capacity of 5,322MW.