NEW DELHI: In an attempt to revive the struggling hydropower sector in the country, state-run NHPC has decided to take over private hydropower projects and is ready to invest equity worth Rs 20,000 crore in the next five years.
The country's largest hydropower producer with an installed capacity of 5,702 mw, NHPC is eyeing to add another 4,000 mw through equity investments. "We want more projects on nomination basis. We aren't getting projects compatible to our capabilities," said ABL Srivastava, director ( finance), NHPC.
Company officials said that NHPC currently has enough cash reserves for the proposed equity investments.
"State governments have lately preferred private players for harnessing hydro power. But most of them have not taken off. Given the amount of equity with us, we are in a good position to form joint venture with private power companies and may even take over the project in many cases," said Srivastava.
NHPC officials also said that several private companies, especially with projects in the north and northeastern parts of the country, have approached the company to form a joint venture involving the state government as well.
"We are still planning our partnership model with state governments and private players for future projects," Srivastava told reporters.
NHPC has projects totalling 12,240 mw in the pipeline, out of which around 8,000 mw worth of projects are awaiting clearances from the central government. Some of its key projects such as Subahsiri (2,000 mw) and Dibang (3,000 mw) in Arunanchal Pradesh are awaiting clearances from the ministry of environment and forests.
The PSU recently commissioned 160 mw Teesta Lower Dam Power project, phase 3 (TLDP 3) project in Sikkim after a hiatus of six years due to geological challenges. It is building six hydropower projects in Sikkim totalling 4,000 mw. The phase four of TLDP, with capacity of 132 mw, is slated for commissioning in October 2014. Phase five of TLDP (512 mw) was commissioned in March 2008.
The upstream Teesta-3 power project in the state is being constructed by a private entity and is supposed to be commissioned by the end of this year in December but NHPC officials in the Teesta region said that no major work has progressed in it.