Millennium Post

Harnessing Hydropower

Harnessing Hydropower
It is required for energy generation through thermal power plants. 

K M Singh took over as Chairman and Managing Director of NHPC Limited, India’s premier hydropower utility on September 23 2015. Singh, who holds a degree in electrical engineering from Gorakhpur University, Uttar Pradesh, began his professional career as an executive trainee in NHPC posted at Loktak Power Station in 1979. 

Since then he has scaled new heights and contributed to NHPC’s development in various capacities. Singh was deputed to SNC, ACRES in Canada for 6 months in the year 1988 and ABB Sweden in the year 1993 for 12 weeks under transfer of Technology for the Chamera Hydroelectric Project Stage-1 and Uri Hydroelectric Project respectively.

He was promoted to the rank of Executive Director in the year 2007.Singh has over 37 years of rich and varied experience to his credit. During his posting at various projects and Corporate Office of NHPC, he has been involved in construction, testing and commissioning, operation and maintenance of various projects/power stations. In an interview with Millennium Post, Singh discusses the future of hydropower in India.

Excerpts from the interview: 

What is the outlook for the hydropower sector? 

Our country is endowed with enormous economically exploitable and viable hydropower potential of 1,45,320 MW (above 25 MW) out of which 37,688 MW (excluding Pumped Storage Schemes) has been developed so far and projects totaling 12732 MW (excluding PSS) are under development. Thus, about 65 per cent of the total potential remains to be exploited. The remaining untapped potential provides ample opportunities to other hydropower developers.

At present, emphasis is on using sustainable, renewable resources of power generation to meet the increasing demand for energy. Hydropower is the best and dependable renewable energy technology which is presently commercially viable on a large scale. Hydropower is clean power and having very less generation of greenhouse gases compared to other conventional modes of power generation. 

It also enhances energy security of the country where there is deficit of energy and shortage to meet peak demand. Hydropower Projects reduce depletion of indigenous fossil fuel and import of coal, crude oil required for energy generation through thermal power plants and DG sets respectively and thus would save huge amount of scarce foreign currency and avoid emission of greenhouse gases. 

These gases are responsible for climate change which is subject of concern worldwide. To avoid or minimize adverse impact on environment by avoiding greenhouse gasses, and for the Energy Security of the Nation, hydropower is the best alternative for generation of green and clean electricity in a sustainable manner. In addition, water security, flood control and irrigation are also feasible with Hydro Power Generation. 

Therefore, I see very bright future for hydropower sector in India.

What is the current capacity and the expansion in the pipeline?

NHPC currently has an installed capacity of 5147 MW at standalone and 6717 MW on consolidated basis with a total of 22 operating power stations. 19 hydro power stations besides one wind power project are operated by NHPC while 2 are operated by NHDC a subsidiary company with the Government of Madhya Pradesh. Apart from this, the company has a total of 3 projects under construction with three hydropower projects with total installed capacity of 3130 MW which includes Kishanganga (330MW), Parbati-II (800MW) and Subansiri Lower (2000 MW). 

During the current financial year, we are expecting to commission 330 MW Kishanganga Project in Jammu and Kashmir. 100 MW each is also likely to be added from Wind and Solar Power Projects respectively.

What have been most significant achievements of NHPC during current financial year?

The current financial year has been very significant for NHPC on various fronts viz capacity addition, Joint Ventures and MOUs, Financial performance etc. During the year, NHPC has added 160 MW from  Teesta Low Dam Stage-IV and  a wind project of 50 MW in Rajasthan.

The cumulative generation of NHPC’s Power Stations during 2015-16 is 23683 MU against MoU target of 22000 MU. The cumulative Plant Availability Factor (PAF) of NHPC Power Stations during 2015-16 was 81 per cent. 

On financial front, NHPC has authorized share capital of Rs.15,000 crore and paid up capital of over Rs.11,000 crore and current investment base of the Company is over Rs. 50,000 crore. NHPC’s average annual profit for last 5 years is over Rs. 2100 crore and average annual capex on expansion is Rs. 3000 crore. NHPC has excellent operating margin of more than 65 per cent NHPC registered a 15 per cent growth in the standalone net profit at Rs. 2440 crore in the FY 2015-16 as against  Rs. 2124 crore for the corresponding period during last fiscal year. Sales for the FY 2015-16 also rose by 9 per cent to Rs. 7347 crore compared to Rs. 6737 crore for the corresponding period in the last fiscal year.

A final dividend of Rs 1.50 per equity share for the year 2015-16 has been paid which comes out to Rs. 1660.60 crore against total dividend of Rs 664.25 crore for the year 2014-15. 

We have also signed a MoU with Govt. of West Bengal and West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) for development of four hydro projects (Teesta Low Dam-V, Teesta Low Dam I and II combined, Teesta Intermediate Stage and  Rammam Stage-I ) with a total capacity of 293 MW. The projects shall be developed by NHPC on Build, Own, Operate and Maintain (BOOM) basis.

What are your key goals and priorities for future?

NHPC’s core business is generation and sale of hydropower. The Company is committed to maintain its leading position in this field. The Company is presently engaged in development of several hydroelectric projects. NHPC is focused on expeditious development of vast untapped hydro potential available in the country. In addition to the projects under construction, Pakal Dul HE project (1000 MW) stands cleared by Government for implementation under Joint Venture. 

Apart from hydropower sector, we have already ventured in to other sources of power. NHPC is also envisaging 4 renewable energy projects on ownership basis - viz, two wind power projects (130 MW) and two solar power projects (100 MW) which are presently under clearance stage. One  Solar power project (50 MW) in Kalpi, UP and 1 Thermal Power Project in Pirpainti, Bihar are also under consideration in JV mode.  

Three hydropower projects with aggregate installed Capacity of 1130 MW are in survey and investigation stage for preparation of Detailed Project Report. 

The Company aims to reduce its operating cost and improve operating performance by investing in Technologically advanced Equipment and methods and by allocating significant resources to modernize the Power Stations.  NHPC is pursuing CDM registration for additional projects and exploring other carbon trading initiatives such as voluntary emission reduction certification.   

What steps are you taking to ensure to meet these targets? 

NHPC has established a Multi-Tier progress monitoring and review system coordinated by the Project Monitoring Services Group. The company has also introduced Primavera based monitoring system and earned value Techniques of project management. Detailed and extensive reviews are carried out regularly at the Project level which is also periodically reviewed by the concerned Regional offices. Co-ordination meetings with the participation of Regional and Departmental heads at Corporate Office are held to deliberate on critical issues with a view to expedite the project implementation. NHPC has also implemented specialized Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to efficiently manage the optimum utilization of generating assets and expeditious implementation of construction projects. 

With the emergence of competition, how do you think it will affect NHPC?

As I have already said 65 per cent of the total hydropower potential of the country still remains to be tapped. NHPC is a premier organization in the country in the field of hydropower development and looks to maintain its leadership in the hydropower sector. We are working on capacity addition plan through our own projects as well as through Joint Venture projects. A JV company “Chenab Valley Power Projects (P) Limited has been formed with Jammu and Kashmir State Power Development Corporation Ltd. (JKSPDC) and PTC India Limited for three projects in Jammu and Kashmir with an aggregate capacity of 2164 MW.

Another JV company ‘Loktak downstream Hydroelectric Corporation Limited’ with Govt. of Manipur has been incorporated for development of 66 MW Loktak Downstream project in Manipur. A JV company is proposed in Bhutan for development of Chamkharchhu-I Project (770 MW) in Bhutan. 

In addition to these, talks are also going on with Government of Sikkim for few more projects. Also, NHPC has already entered into a JV with Govt. of UP for 50 MW Solar project in UP. We have also diversified into renewable energy sector with number of projects in pipeline.


Our contributor helps bringing the latest updates to you

Share it