NTPC may develop largest hydel project

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 6 2011, 09:38am hrs
In what could be India's largest hydropower project, NTPC is exploring the possibility of setting up a 10,000 mw project over the Siang river in Arunachal Pradesh at an estimated cost of R1 lakh crore.

We have been asked by the Planning Commission to examine the possibility of developing the Upper Siang hydroelectric project, NTPC chairman Arup Roy Choudhury told mediapersons here. The company is expected to develop the project on its own.

NTPC has already submitted a preliminary feasibility report on the project to the state government and has asked for its go-ahead for starting work on a detailed project report.

The proposal for the project comes after NTPC decided to review its entire hydro initiative following the government decision to scrap its Lohari Nagpala project in Uttarakhand last year. The company had made an investment of over R600 crore in the project before the Centre decided to scarp it due to its adverse environmental impact.

India's largest thermal power generator has diversified into hydro and renewable power generation to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. It aims to have 30% of its power generation from non-fossil fuels by 2032. This is expected to also help the company contain its fast-expanding carbon footprint.

Private players find even medium-sized hydropower projects too risky because of their long gestation period and chances of geological surprises factors which often lead to unusual cost escalation. That apart, private players might not feel comfortable putting so much money in a single project. That is the reason why the Centre wants NTPC to take up the project.

NTPC is implementing hydropower projects totalling to 1,700 mw capacity. Its 800 mw Koldam hydroelectric project in Himachal Pradesh is expected to start generation in the next financial year.

The largest hydropower project so far is the lower Subansiri being developed by NHPC in Arunachal Pradesh.