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Business News/ Industry / Energy/  CEA fast-tracks approval mechanism for pumped storage projects
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CEA fast-tracks approval mechanism for pumped storage projects

Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has granted concurrence to the Upper Sileru pumped storage project in Andhra Pradesh within a record time of 70 days, surpassing the stipulated timeline of 90 days

According to the ministry, the pumped storage projects play a crucial role in achieving the government’s commitment to reaching 500 GW of installed capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. (REUTERS)Premium
According to the ministry, the pumped storage projects play a crucial role in achieving the government’s commitment to reaching 500 GW of installed capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. (REUTERS)

New Delhi: In a bid to accelerate the growth of India’s renewable energy capacity, the government has implemented several measures to ensure the expedited commissioning of Pumped Storage Projects (PSPs), the ministry of power said in a statement.

Notably, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has granted concurrence to the Upper Sileru Pumped Storage Project (PSP) in Andhra Pradesh within a record time of 70 days, surpassing the stipulated timeline of 90 days.

The CEA, under the Ministry of Power, has recently revamped the approval process for Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of Hydro PSPs, introducing measures to streamline the concurrence process. A dedicated Single Window Clearance Cell has been established by the CEA to expedite approvals. 

In addition, nodal officers have been appointed by the Central Water Commission (CWC) to fast-track the clearance of design aspects. To further speed up the process, more groups have been designated to examine the design aspects of DPRs. 

According to the ministry, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has also nominated nodal officers to facilitate the clearance of geological aspects of DPRs, while the CEA has requested the involvement of GSI’s subordinate and field offices in states to enhance the efficiency of the clearances.

It added that efforts to expedite environmental clearances have also been underway. The ministry of environment, forest & climate change (MoEF&CC) has agreed to appraise off stream closed loop PSPs with specific terms of reference (ToRs) as a result of continuous efforts by the CEA and the ministry of power. 

Additionally, the MoEF&CC has issued a notification to appraise PSPs on existing reservoirs under the B2 category, which eliminates the need for Environmental Impact Assessment, subject to certain conditions. These measures are expected to significantly reduce the time required to obtain environmental clearance for PSPs.

According to the ministry, the CEA has published revised guidelines for the formulation and concurrence of DPRs for PSPs. Under the new guidelines, the timeline for concurrence of DPRs for certain categories of PSPs has been reduced from 90 days to 50 days. This includes PSPs awarded under Section 63 of the Electricity Act, those integrated into Integrated Renewable Energy Projects, and those developed as captive plants or merchant plants. The approval timeline for other PSPs has also been reduced from 125 days to 90 days.

It said that the potential of PSPs in India is significant, with an estimated capacity of about 119 GW comprising 109 PSPs. Currently, 8 projects with a capacity of 4.7 GW are operational, while 4 projects with a capacity of 2.8 GW are under construction. The CEA has granted concurrence for 2 projects with a capacity of 2.3 GW, and construction is set to begin shortly.

Furthermore, 33 projects with a capacity of 42 GW are under survey & investigation for the preparation of DPRs. Out of these 33 projects, the ministry of environment, forest & climate change has already provided terms of reference for 22 projects.

According to the ministry, the pumped Storage Projects play a crucial role in achieving the government’s commitment to reaching 500 GW of installed capacity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. These projects facilitate the integration of intermittent renewable energy with the grid, provide dispatchable renewable power, and help meet peak demand requirements.

In recognition of their importance, 39 Hydro PSPs with a capacity of 47 GW are being pursued for commissioning by 2029-30, it added.

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Updated: 08 Jun 2023, 09:02 PM IST
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