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Report | July 2014

Water warrior

With concerns growing over ongoing projects, NHPC's 10,000 MW target may not be achievable. However, the management is optimistic about achieving the same.

Despite the fact that hydroelectric projects are recognised as the most economic and preferred source of electricity, the share of hydropower in the total installed capacity in India has been declining steadily since 1963. The hydro share has declined from 44 per cent in 1970 to 18 per cent in 2013. In order to reverse the trend and given the renewed thrust on hydropower by the Government, NHPC Limited has drawn up a massive capacity addition plan in the hydro sector.

Performance highlights
A Memorandum of Understanding for development of wind energy projects by NHPC in Kerala has been signed between NHPC and the Government of Kerala. NHPC will develop grid interactive wind power projects in Nallasingam and Kottathara sites in Pallakad district with a potential of 82 MW capacity. During the year, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has accorded "in-principle" forest clearance to 800 MW Tawang-II Project, Arunachal Pradesh for diversion of 116.62 ha of forest land and environmental clearance has been given to the 520 MW Teesta Stage-IV HE Project, Sikkim. The cumulative power generation of all NHPC power stations stands at 16409 MU up to the month of January 2014.

As on date, NHPC has completed 4,987 MW capacity of projects (standalone), along with 1,520 MW capacity of projects with its subsidiaries.

Strong present
As on date NHPC Limited has become the largest organisation for hydropower development in India, with capabilities to undertake all the activities from conceptualisation to commissioning in relation to setting up of hydro projects. NHPC is also planning to undertake wind and tidal wave projects in the country.

NHPC presently has an installation base of 5,702 MW from 17 hydropower stations on ownership basis including projects taken up in joint venture. Considering the impediments faced during execution of these projects such as unfavourable geological conditions, difficult law & order problems and inaccessible and remote locations, the achievement so far is commendable. The generation performance of these stations has been outstanding.

Perfect future
NHPC Limited is presently engaged in the construction of 7 projects aggregating to a total installed capacity of 4,095 MW. In addition, NHPC is awaiting the clearances of nearly 8,810 MW of projects which are in J&K, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Uttarakhand. Meanwhile, there are around 3,810 MW of projects under construction of which a 2,000 MW hydro project is in Arunachal Pradesh. Added to the above capacity addition, NHPC with its JV partners is developing a project with a capacity of 5,206 MW. Given the renewed thrust on development of hydro power in the country, NHPC has drawn up a massive plan to add over 10,000 MW of hydropower capacity by the end of the XIII Plan (year 2022).

A worry factor
As of now, the only worry for NHPC is project execution. The problem is that NHPC's execution record has been a little patchy. Against the target of 937 MW, the company added 807 MW of capacity last fiscal year. The delays are impacting NHPC's finances and return ratios. According to Emkay Global Financial Services, if work on the Subansiri project is not resumed by October, the firm will have to make an additional provision of Rs 500-600 crore in this fiscal year. NHPC has already taken a hit in the last quarter due to low volumes and expenses related to delayed projects. The company accounted for expenses of the Subansiri Lower and Teesta Low Dam projects, both of which have been delayed. The upshot is that employee and other expenses zoomed. Finance charges jumped six times as Subansiri and Teesta interest costs were capitalised.

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