India is wasting hydro potential: NHPC chief

NHPC is facing tough times. The company’s projects worth 10,000 megawatt are awaiting clearances for the past three-four years and more than 2,000 MW projects are suspended because of protests and socio-political factors.

Mr A.B.L. Srivastava, Chairman and Managing Director of NHPC, talks to Business Line on the company’s future growth prospect and tapping hydro-potential in the country.

HYDEL PROJECTS NOT TAKING OFF

There is a need for power in the country. And looking at reliability and fuel issues, there is no substitute for hydro.

Unfortunately, hydro potential in India has not been utilised. It is been wasted every day. On one side, raw material is getting wasted as you cannot store it, and on the other hand, we are concentrating our capacity additions on fuels that are limited, which is a paradox.

There is a need to awaken the country to go for hydro projects. There have been cases where projects have been started and then stopped mid-way.

PROBLEMS WITH J&K GOVERNMENT

Two things are very clear. The projects have come to us through the Central Government and the Government has made it clear that the projects are with us. NHPC has not directly negotiated any project with the State Government. Therefore, any decision about the projects should be taken by the Centre and the company will abide with it. We are setting up new projects in J&K – Kishan Ganga (330 MW), Chutak (44 MW), Nimmo Bazgo (45 MW) and Uri-II (240 MW). Chutak, Nimmo Bazgo and Uri-II should be fully commissioned within 2012-13. At present, we are also operating capacities in Uri-I (480 MW), Salal (690 MW), Dulhasti (390 MW) and Sewa (120 MW) in the state.

PROJECTS IN UTTARAKHAND

We are trying to get clearance for three projects – Kotli Bhel 1A, 1B and Kotli Bhel 2. But the clearances are still taking time. We are hopeful to get clearance for Kotli Bhel 1A soon; others are far away. We have two operating projects in Uttarakhand – Tanakpur and Dhauli Ganga.

There are no projects under construction in the state.

NEW CAPACITY ADDITION

We have planned more than 4,000 MW during the 12th Plan period. We would definitely like to achieve it.

The Plan period has just started, and as of now, we do not want to revise the target. Our capital expenditure for the 12th Plan is Rs 29,000 crore. Of this, 30 per cent would be equity funding and for remaining 70 per cent we would raise debt.

RAISING DEBT

It will depend on market conditions at the time of raising debt. In case, we get external borrowings cheaper, then only we will go for it. As of now, we are in a position to get funds from the domestic market. As on March 30, 2012, NHPC has debt of Rs 16,272 crore. Out of this, Rs 2,405 crore is foreign loan.

DISINVESTMENT

As far as fresh equity is concerned, we do not need it now. However, if the Government decides to sell its stake, we would facilitate that. We are yet to receive any official communication.
Source: BL

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