NHPC: After hydel, next stop wind and tidal
By A Business Correspondent
NHPC, which was set up in 1975, is today India's largest hydro power generating company. With an investment of over Rs 12,000 crore, NHPC has made conscious efforts to diversify into wind and tidal power as also geo-thermal and gas power generation. The corporation is also preparing to take up mini and micro hydro projects.
The corporation presently has eight generating power units with an installed capacity 2,175 mw power. It is in the process of implementing four projects with an installed capacity of 3,410 mw. Also in the pipeline are 11 other projects with a capacity of 3,302 mw.
The share of hydro power in the total installed capacity has been declining steadily since 1963-from 44 per cent in 1970 to less than 25 per cent at present. The ideal hydro-thermal mix is considered to be in the ratio of 40:60. Thus, the current imbalance in the same is largely responsible for instability in the power system. To reverse this trend, NHPC has drawn up a massive capacity addition plan in the hydro sector. The corporation has identified 38 hydro-electric power projects for implementation during the 10th and 11th Five-Year Plans. This would add another 18,678 mw power generation capacity.
This may not be an impossible task (without considering the financial aspects) as India is endowed with economically exploitable and viable hydro potential of about 84,000 mw at 60 per cent load factor (1,48,700 mw installed capacity). In addition, 6,780 mw in terms of installed capacity from small, mini and micro Hydel schemes have been assessed. Also, 56 sites for pumped storage schemes with an aggregate installed capacity of 94,000 mw have been identified. However, only 15 per cent of the potential has been harnessed so far with 7 per cent under various stages of development.