Delhi benefits from record hydropower in Himachal

May 26th, 2009 - 2:27 pm ICT by IANS  

By Vishal Gulati
Shimla, May 26 (IANS) Record hydroelectric power generation in Himachal Pradesh due to thawing of glaciers and frozen lakes is good news for Delhi and the rest of northern India.

The 20 state-owned run-of-river projects currently generate 7.6 million units daily, “the maximum generation during the peak season”, said Sunil Grover, Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board’s director of generation.

The board is now returning power to those states that had supplied electricity to the hill state in winter under a power-sharing agreement. “Right now, we are giving 15 lakh (1.5 million) units to Delhi every day. From next month, we will supply to Punjab and Haryana too,” Grover told IANS.

The three northern states had provided 400 million units to Himachal Pradesh last winter (December to March-end) when the state’s generation had dipped by 60-80 percent.

“In this surplus-power season, we will provide an additional 400 million units to these states so we get it back next winter,” Grover said.

Apart from the state government’s plants, there are 13 other hydropower projects that are run either by the central government, private players or are joint ventures, all operating at full capacity currently.

V.K. Verma, deputy general manager of the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam that owns the Nathpa-Jhakri project, said generation at the plant has increased to 36 million units per day, and attributed it to the increase flow in the Satluj river, on which the project is located.

“The river discharge has increased to 500 cubic metres per second with the melting of frozen lakes and icecaps,” Verma said. This was around 50-60 cubic metres a second in January-February.

Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh buy power from the 1,500-MW Nathpa-Jhakri project.

Himachal Pradesh’s hydropower potential is 20,416 MW - about 25 percent of India’s total potential - out of which only 6,419 MW is being harnessed. Of this, 1,738 MW is generated by 15 projects run by the private sector.

Under the state’s amended power policy, the bidder who offers more free power to the state in addition to the fixed quota is allotted projects.

The free power is in addition to the fixed upfront premium of Rs.2 million per megawatt that companies have to pay the state.

The state government is encouraging local entrepreneurs to take up projects with 2 to 5 MW generation capacity. The government has allotted projects above 5 MW through open bidding.

The average cost of a project is Rs.70 million per megawatt.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at

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