The Indian power sector has been advancing on the technological front
Tomohiko Okada | Managing Director, Toshiba India Pvt. Ltd (TIPL)
As a global player, how India compare on the world scale?
India at present is more dependent on fossil fuels to power its fast growing economy. Compared to developed nations India has not fully explored its hydro power potential and its share in the generation mix is very less when compared to other conventional sources. Recent decisions to support renewable and non-conventional energy by various initiatives are positive. To ensure energy security, GoI is also likely considering large-hydro under renewable energy, which is an appreciable move. In our opinion, there is need to harness every possible source of power that modern technology has made feasible and, if necessary, make use of state-of-the-art scientific methods that can be provided by multi-national companies like Toshiba Corporation which has always been at the frontier levels of research in hydro power.
How do you view the future of hydro power in India?
As per GoI´s plans, one of top national priorities is to provide every Indian citizen reliable access to electricity. The present situation, in which over 40 per cent of people, mostly living in rural areas, have no access to electricity and all stake holders has obligation to overcome this national concern. Further this situation is complicated by the grim reality of climate change. We are familiar with the negative environmental effects of using fossil fuels for power generation. But hydro-electric power has none of the negative effects associated with climate change and is, therefore, being adopted around the world. We feel that there is a strong need to accelerate both generation and distribution reforms. Initiatives and policies for a viable business environment are necessary otherwise developers and financial institutions will be rather cautious about fresh investments. We believe that concerned authorities will pay immediate attention towards overcoming the hurdles and bring out with policies favouring hydro power projects, thus creating opportunities.
What are the major hurdles and challenges you face?
Once there is clarity on the policies for hydro power and encouragement for developers and manufacturers, demand is bound to rise for electro-mechanical equipment. As such we are not having any hurdle with regard to technology and can provide optimum techno-commercial solutions for upcoming hydro projects in India. However, the concept of mega power project policies for large sized projects should also be revisited for new upcoming projects where concessions for taxes and duties may be considered by the authorities.
Which technologies are most feasible to the Indian scenario?
The Indian power sector has been advancing on the technological front with the trend moving more towards usage of efficient machineries with very low maintenance. Specifically in the hydro power sector, Toshiba continues to invest on research and development activities, innovating new models of very high efficiency through cutting-edge CFD analysis development, new concept of splitter runner, special bearings, smart switchgear, GIS and we are now introducing adjustable speed machineries for pumped storage hydro plants. All of these technologies are feasible in the Indian market. Besides these, we are also exploring the viability and compatibility of new technology with existing plants.
What can be done to bring a turnaround in the sector?
Growth in hydro power segment has declined. Developers are facing the problems of land acquisition, clearances related issues, PPAs, tariff issue and funds constraints. But we are optimistic that these issues will be resolved by the government and developers.
Kindly explain the technicalities involved in SHP projects.
SHPs have truly gained popularity in India mainly due to less gestation period and investment. But, we feel that large sized hydro projects should be equally encouraged to meet the growing energy demands. India will continue to face an exponential growth of electricity demand over the next quarter century and beyond due to the high economic growth targets set by a dynamic and ambitious nation. To meet the requirement, we wish to associate ourselves with any kind of hydro projects especially large sized or pumped storage.
What are the technologies that you have developed in this segment?
Hydro plants are designed on customised basis as per the parameters of the projects. Our exhaustive studies and advance technology helps us to produce efficient machineries with long life. Due to such extraordinary longevity, Toshiba-designed plants also happen to be among the world´s most cost-effective in operation. And this factor is of decisive importance in a country like India, where it is essential to produce power at the cheapest possible rates.
What are the various equipments you provide for the hydro segment in India?
Toshiba, a global name for state-of-art-technology and super-efficiency, is elaborately involved in diverse aspect of hydro power plant designing and construction. It supplies equipment like hydraulic-turbines, hydraulic-generators, balance of plants (BoPs) like control systems, transformers, switch gears, and is majorly involved in installation and commissioning work. Toshiba is also intensively involved in turnkey projects which are of critical importance for a country like India.
What contribution has Toshiba made to the hydro sector in India?
Toshiba Hydro Power already boasts of a galaxy of highly successful projects in the country such as Umiam-1 Hydroelectric Project (HEP) (4x10.5 MW) in Meghalaya, Dam HEP (2x9 MW) and Hampi HEP (2x9 MW) in Andhra Pradesh, all operating smoothly for years, much beyond their life expectancy. Toshiba´s other hydro-power success stories in India include Umiam-2 HEP (2x10.5 MW) in Meghalaya, River Bed (Narmada) HEP (6x200 MW) in Gujarat, Purulia pumped storage power project (4x225 MW) in West Bengal, Teesta V project (3x170 MW) in Sikkim, and Koldam project (4x200 MW) in Himachal Pradesh. Due to this extremely impressive track record Toshiba, a Japanese multi-national company has become one of the country´s most sought after partners for hydro power developers.