India eyes to build hundred hydropower projects

Himalayan News Service

New Delhi, April 7:

India has zeroed in on 100 hydropower projects that are not only feasible but could be the source of cheap electricity supplies, a senior official said. "As part of the target set by prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in May 2003 to harness hydropower to create 50,000 MW generation capacity, we have completed the feasibility report for 100 projects that will together account for 32,000 MW capacity," said H L Bajaj of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).Short-listed from 162 identified hydropower projects, the 100 promise to offer economical electricity to consumers at some of the cheapest rates, said Bajaj at an interactive meet organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)."We are far in advance of the 18-month long plan period set in May 2003 for identification of the feasible project. Some of them could yield least cost power at tariff of less than even Rs two Indian Currency (IC) per unit and others at less than Rs 2.50 IC per unit," said Bajaj, who is chairman of the government think tank. The official said the state-owned National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) have offered to take up the task of doing detailed project reports for some of the 100.

The detailed project reports will reduce the implementation time by three to four years.

"We are looking for some private investors to also undertake some of these projects, which will take three to four years less once the detailed project report have been completed," said Bajaj. CEA hopes to implement these projects during the next two plans from 2007 to 2017.

In 2002, power-stressed India had set a target of doubling power generation capacity by 2012 with the creation of 100,000 MW of new capacity. Of this, around 41,000 MW is to be completed by 2007. So far 8,000 MW capacity projects have been completed. We are on schedule to meet the remaining target, of which 7,000 MW is expected through private investment.