NHPC, SJVN, NEEPCO and THDC will be able to complete only 3,800 MW of hydro power projects as against the set target of 11,000 MW, in next five years. Policy paralysis coupled with flip-flop operations by public sector utilities in the country has not only impacted thermal power projects but it has also pounded heavily on hydro power generation projects. If we talk about the state run entities, around 16 projects are reportedly delayed that could add up a cost overrun of nearly Rs 15,000 crore in the past five years, according to the latest assessment by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG).
The state-owned National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC), Satlaj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN), THDC India and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) are the implementing agencies for hydro power projects. For the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12), these entities had aimed to add capacity of around 12,000 MW, which has been later scaled down to 7,000 MW. This too became a hilly task for state run companies, which were able to set up just four projects aggregating 1,500 MW by March 2012.
"The delay in capacity augmentation is the loss of return on equity. In addition to this, the policy flip-flop led to loss of 7,300 MW of projects by NHPC in Arunachal Pradesh to private developers," the CAG report stated.
It also remarked that the delays in execution of 16 projects by four state utilities resulted in the revision of their initial cost from Rs 30,005 crore to Rs 44,712 crore. In seven of the completed or ongoing projects, the cost overrun was in the range of 53 to 148 per cent. The delays of commissioning of projects have also led to losing an opportunity of generating 26,000 million units of electricity annually, a probable annual loss of Rs 1,500 crore that could have been an additional return on equity.
Considering the CEA benchmark of 10 years for completion of projects, two projects Omkareshwar and Sewa-II were completed within the benchmark. Two other projects - Teesta-V of NHPC and 'Koteshwar' of THDC were completed in 11 and 13 years respectively. Of the remaining 10 ongoing projects, nine projects are likely to take between 11 and 19 years and one project Rampur of SJVNL is likely to be completed in nine years.
The report also took a dig at central public sector enterprises intention while awarding projects to private contractors. Despite direction from Prime MinisterÆs Office (PMO), the Ministry of Power failed to form a special purpose vehicle for survey, investigation and timely implementation of the Siang and Subansiri multi-purpose projects in the Bramphaputra Basin in Arunachal Pradesh. However, the government allocated six projects aggregating up to 20,700 MW to NHPC of which only one 2,000 MW Subansiri Lower is being executed.
Parbati II (800 MW) and Lower Subansiri (2,000 MW) projects of NHPC, which consists almost 60 per cent of the capacity addition plans, got delayed by over eight years, according to NHPC DRHP. While state agencies blame the poor technology in the country as the potential reason for delay, the sector analysts are putting the onus on various shortcomings in the way of implementation of projects.
"The delay of 20 months could have been avoided if soil drilling would have been more in-depth and requirement for an additional audit was identified earlier," says Jonas Bhutta, an analyst from Bank of America, Merril Lynch.
The nodal audit body also comments on projection for next five years. It states that as per planned projects, NHPC, SJVN, NEEPCO and THDC will be able to complete only 3,800 MW of hydro power projects as against the set target of 11,000 MW. This was the case with the public sector utilities. Now if we talk about private sector players, they are also reeling under pressure on account of various challenges, be it environment clearances, land acquisition, difficult terrain, or crippled skills and technology support in the country.
Status of Private Sector Under-Construction Hydro Projects
The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has recently asked for a review report from private hydro power developers to assess the status of works and commissioning schedule of the respective projects. The result was as below:
Sorang (2 x 50 = 100 MW) Hydro Power Project in Himachal Pradesh by Himachal Sorang Power Pvt Ltd
Presently, HRT lining and penstock erection is the most critical activity. Length of HRT is 1,455 m. Excavation of HRT and penstock is completed. Out of the 1,455 m lining in HRT, 800 m has been done and 655 m is remaining. Due to the difficult slope of the hill, erection of surface penstock is another critical activity of the project. Five anchor bends and 536 m ferrule erection is yet to be completed. HRT and Penstock works are likely to be completed by November 2012, which seems to be too optimistic in view of the current pace of works. The company was asked to provide realistic targets. CEA advised the developer to expedite the works to avoid any further delay. Considering the progress of works, unit commissioning seems difficult in the year 2012-13, as scheduled by the project authorities and is likely to slip to 2013-14.
Shrinagar (4 x 82.5 = 330 MW) Hydro Power Project in Uttarakhand by GVK Industries Ltd
Ministry of Environment and Forest has issued stop notice for works from May 30, 2011. The dam and desilting basin works are critical for the commissioning. It was intimated that during monsoon 2011, flood water gushing through dam blocks caused heavy damages to the dam's right bank and foundation. It is assessed that after the start of work, it would take at least 18 months to complete the balance works. It was also mentioned that villagers are protesting the erection of transmission lines, being erected by UPPTCL. CEA directed the developer to take up the issue with UPPTCL regarding power evacuation system. The project commissioning is subject to withdrawal of MoEF notice.
Phata Byung (2 x 38 = 76 MW) Hydro Power Project in Uttarakhand by Lanco Mandikini Hydro Energy Private Ltd
It was intimated that 7 km out of 9,228 m HRT excavation has been completed. HRT excavation in Phase-IV is hampered due to poor geology. Power house excavation is completed and concreting has been started. The project is programmed to be commissioned in year 2013-14. CEA raised its concern about the completion of E&M works in view of just completed excavation of power house. It was intimated by the developer that due to slow progress of works, completion of transmission line, being executed by state government, is moving on critical path. CEA desired that realistic target of commissioning be provided.
Singoli Bhatwari (3 x 33 = 99 MW) Hydro Power Project in Uttarakhand by L&T
All civil works except HRT are progressing generally as per the schedule. The works in HRT suffered due to poor geology and disturbance by locals. Out of 11,255 m, 5,990 m of HRT excavation has been completed and is scheduled to be completed by December 2013. CEA raised its concerns about this target as half of HRT excavation has taken almost 28 months. It was intimated that earlier geology was poor and now the rock condition is improving and the project is likely to achieve this target and the HRT works have been scheduled to be completed by February 2015. The project is programmed to be commissioned in the year 2015-16.
Teesta-lll (6 x 200 = 1,200 MW) Hydro Power Project in Sikkim by Teesta Urja Ltd
Civil and E&M works got delayed due to earthquakes in Sikkim in September 2011. Works have now resumed but at slow pace. The bridge which was damaged during transportation of transformer is being re-constructed by the project developer which is urgently required for transportation of heavy equipments. It was intimated that due to ongoing investigations of the bridge collapse by the state government, work could not be restarted for the bridge construction. It was also intimated that the works of the project have been suffered due to the financial crunch with the developer. CEA requested the developers to sort out the issues expeditiously to avoid any further delay. The project is likely to be commissioned in the year 2014-15. CEA also advised to take up the issues of transportation in the event of collapse of bridge with Border Road Organisation (BRO).
Teesta-VI (4 x 125 = 500 MW) Hydro Power Project in Sikkim by Lanco Energy Private Ltd
Power house, transformer cavern and TRT excavation is completed and concreting is in progress. All civil works except HRT are progressing generally as per the schedule. Out of 27 km length of HRT, boring of 9.6 km has been completed. The works of HRT suffered due to poor geology. The progress of works have also suffered due to contractual issues. The project is scheduled to be commissioned in the year 2014-15.
Rangit-IV (3 x 40 = 120 MW), Hydro Power Project in Sikkim by Jal Power Corp Ltd
The excavation works are in various stages of completion. However, due to poor geology/cavity formation in some stretches of the HRT, the progress of HRT works is slow. Excavation of 2.33 km out of 6.48 km has been completed. The dam, HRT and power house works have been assured to be completed by October 2014. To expedite the works, the developer is taking various measures so that the commissioning of the project can be achieved in the year 2014-15.
Jorethang Loop (2 x 48 = 96 MW) Hydro Power Project in Sikkim by DANS Energy Private Ltd
Out of 6.7 km, HRT excavation of 3.6 km has been completed. The HRT works were suffered due to poor geology. Now, the geology has improved and daily progress has increased from 150 m to 350 m per month. Spiral casing erection for Unit #1 has been completed and pressure test is in progress. It was intimated that due to delay in forest clearance for transmission line, the power evacuation arrangement is moving on critical path. The project is likely to be commissioned in the year 2014-15.
Tashiding (2 x 48.5 = 97 MW) Hydro Power Project in Sikkim by Shiga Energy Private Ltd
The excavation of intake, HRT and power house is in progress. Diversion tunnel excavation has been started. HRT excavation has been started at four phases and third Adit has also been excavated. The HRT works have been scheduled to be completed by December 2013. The order for E&M works has been placed with Alstom. It was intimated that model test report submitted by Alstom has been accepted by the developer. The erection of embedded part in power house commenced in July 2012. The project is scheduled to be commissioned in the year 2013-14.
Rongnichu (2 x 48 = 96 MW) Hydro Power Project in Sikkim by Madhya Bharat Power Corporation Ltd
Civil works have been awarded to SEW Infrastructure Ltd. and E&M works to Voith Hydro Power Pvt Ltd. Award of HM works placed in August 2012. Pre-construction activities and excavation of Adits are in progress. The power house excavation is likely to be started in October 2012.
Boring about one km out of about 14 km tunnel has been completed. It was intimated that works have suffered due to local issues. One Adit for HRT has been abandoned to the protest of locals. The works of surge shaft has got delayed due to land dispute. It was intimated that open excavation and slope protection works at right and left banks of the dam has been completed and dam excavation is likely to start after the current monsoon. The project has been scheduled for commissioning in the year 2015-16.
(With inputs from Infraline Enegy)
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