Himachal hydropower generation dips 80 percent as water channels freeze

February 24th, 2009 - 12:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Feb 24 (IANS) Hydroelectric power generation in Himachal Pradesh has fallen 75 to 80 percent this winter after several water channels froze across the state, triggering a shortage of 1,000 million units per day, officials said.

“Hydropower generation in all our run-of-river plants has dipped 75 to 80 percent due to decline in water levels,” Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB) power (generation) director Sunil Grover told IANS.

The HPSEB has 20 hydro projects across the state, including Bhaba (120 MW), Largi (126 MW) and Uhl-II (60 MW).

“These days, all the 20 hydro plants are producing just 20-23 lakh (2-2.3 million) units daily,” whereas the total generation capacity of these plants is 11.2-11.5 million units per day, Grover said.

Apart from the HPSEB-owned plants, there are 13 more hydro power projects in the state, which are run either by the central government or private players or joint venture companies. These plants are also running below their generation capacity since November 2008, officials said.

“Power generation in our (1,500-MW) Nathpa Jhakri project (in Kinnaur district) has fallen to seven million units per day from 36 million units,” said V.K. Verma, deputy general manager of the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam.

He attributed the decline in power generation to less water in the Satluj river on which the project is located.

“The discharge in the river has reduced to 50 to 60 cubic metres per second due to freezing of water channels in the catchment of the river,” he said.

The normal discharge in the river is 500 to 600 cubic metres per second.

“This is an annual feature. At present, the state is facing a power shortage of 1,000 million units per day,” HPSEB’s Grover said.

“To fill the gap, we are daily getting power from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi these days under various banking schemes,” he added.

The hill state is getting free power from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi under the “contra banking” scheme.

“We (HPSEB) had supplied 150 MW daily to Punjab and Haryana in July and August 2008 and had supplied 28 million units to Delhi in September last year. Now, they are feeding our transformers,” Grover said.

He added that the three states would give Himachal Pradesh 440 million units daily till March this year under the “forward banking” scheme. Under the scheme, the state will pay the bills in the summer months.

Himachal Pradesh is also getting 250-300 million units per day from the central pool.

Himachal Pradesh has abundant water resources, with five major rivers flowing down the slopes of the Himalayas. Its power generation potential is 20,416 MW, about 25 percent of India’s total hydropower potential. Only 6,419 MW has been developed.

Eleven projects with a combined generation capacity of 1,124 MW are under execution by the HPSEB, whereas 15 projects with a generation capacity of 1,738 MW are under execution by private companies.

Himachal Pradesh had generated 6,229 million units of power in 2007-08, out of which 5,029 million units were sold outside the state.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at vishal.g@ians.in)

-Indo-Asian News Service


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