In a remarkable trend emerging in hydro sector in Himachal Pradesh, many leading private companies have started surrendering hydro power projects allotted to them by State Govt. As per the news report, Tata Group, Reliance, Jindal and Larsen & Toubro have either surrendered or are in process of surrendering numbers of hydro projects given to them over past one and half decade. These companies are now increasingly terming the projects as non-viable and unprofitable, says a story published in the Delhi-based South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) News Bulletin published on Monday.
In the last week of June, 2017, Tata group wrote to Directorate Energy, expressing its desire to surrender the 450 MW Duggar power project in Pangi area of Chamba district. The project had been allotted to them in 2007-08 and it is after receiving the feasibility study undertaken by its consultants that the Tatas have decided not to proceed with it since they feel it would not be viable. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/tatas-give-up-chamba-power-project/428456.html
Earlier the Cabinet in its June 24, 2017 meeting had agreed to return Rs 85 crore paid as upfront money by Reliance group after it declined to set up the two projects of Purthy (Pangi) 300 MW and Sumte Kothang in Spiti (130 MW). The reasons on which they surrendered the project was declined capacity in case of Purthy and opposition by the locals in case of Sumte Kothang.
Similarly in past, the Jindal group, which has been allotted the 250 MW Kutehar power project in Chamba, has also intimated the Energy Directorate that it had put the project on hold for some time though the group has not cited any specific reasons. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/reliance-power-to-get-back-rs-85-cr-it-paid-to-govt-for-2-projects/427112.html
Now, Larsen and Toubro is reported to urge the state government to enter into a power-purchase agreement (PPA) with it for two of its hydel projects — Reoli Dugli (Lahaul-Spiti) and Sach Khas (Pangi), located in the arduous Chenab basin.
The company had been allotted the 430-MW Reoli Dugli project near Udaipur in the tribal district of Lahaul-Spiti in January 2011. The other project allotted to it was 267-MW Sach Khas in Pangi, Chamba district, in September 2009.
An official of company has admitted that the company is reluctant to go ahead with the projects unless the state govt enters into a PPA with it as they are anticipating problems in evacuating power, with the market being very grim as far as buyers and power rates are concerned.
In its letter addressed to the Director, Energy, the company has pointed out that there is no road infrastructure in the area and there is a provision for evacuation of power. Another stumbling block is the hurdle being faced by the company in getting clearances for starting work on the two self-identified projects of Jindi (4.4 MW) and Choo (3.5 MW) allotted to it by Himurja to meet its own power requirement for the construction of two big projects.
The company is reluctant to start the projects, considering the fact that the cost of power is working out to be almost Rs 9.90 per unit, whereas the power rates in the market are hovering around Rs 2.50 to Rs 3 per unit. Incidentally, the production cost per unit is so high after the concession given by the govt of exempting projects in the Chenab basin from providing 12 per cent free power to it. http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/l-t-may-pull-out-of-hydro-power-projects/430333.html
It is also pleasing to know that by making informed decisions Lippa villagers are challenging damaging hydropower projects. Equipped with legal knowledge, they have been consistently fighting against the destructive Kasang Hydro project in Kinnaur district. http://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/power-play-kinnaur
Contrary to this in a strange development French official agency has decided to provide an 80 million euro loan facility for two HEPs , namely Deothal Chanju HEP (30 MW) and Chanju III HEP (48 MW) with total capacity 78 MW in Chanju basin (part of larger Ravi Basin). http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/french-afd-approves-80-mn-euro-loan-for-hydro-projects-in-himachal-pradesh/59451935
In a separate but related news report, Tim Buckley, an energy expert says that hydro power can provide instantaneous electricity generation, helping with grid stability and balance. As per the report, Himachal has hydroelectricity generation potential of 27,436 MW –which is about 25 percent of the country’s total potential and it has harnessed 10,351 MW till Dec 2016, which is almost 37 per cent of the total potential.
Contrary to his notions, SANDRP finds that if hydropower only in range Rs 1-4 per unit is viable, than no new hydro would be viable. http://energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/power/indias-outdated-electricity-grid-needs-major-upgrade-says-expert/59485958