Ultra Mega Hydro Projects can be a reality in India : Mr. M.M. Madan, (Director BD, Hydro GVK Group)
Mr M M Madan Director (Business Development) – Hydro, GVK Group is a B Tech in Civil Engineering and MBA; He is an expert in the field of Hydro Power Development in India including Construction, Commissioning & Operation of Large Hydroelectric Projects. He worked as CEO, Malana Power Company Ltd & AD Hydro Power Ltd ( LNJ Bhilwara Group). He was Executive Director, NHPC for projects on Ravi River and tributaries, Parbati Valley projects in Himachal Pradesh and projects in Uttarakhand.
1. What are the main challenges a hydro developer face in India during development. Socially, economically and technically.
Main Challenges a hydro developer may face are time taken by various departments on clearances like forest, environment and TEC. Land acquisition, infrastructure availability, up-gradation of infrastructure to suit the need of the project. Interaction with the local villagers, authorities and social organisations who are generally against such hydro power projects. Technically Himalayan geology poses challenges to the engineers and geologist. Shortage of skilled manpower and engineers of core branches civil/ electrical/ mechanical.
2. Are national level and state level policy and incentives adequate for investors to invest in high risk hydro projects?
Even if there were incentives these are being withdrawn; eg the Mega Power Project Benefit. This has been withdrawn from July onward and for the past many projects. Simply by issuing a notification, without going into details that what will happen to those projects which were allotted on Tariff based bidding process. MPP benefits was for customs duty and for Excise duty. Withdrawal of this benefit has a great impact on the tariff and viability of the project. Low ROI and low ROE.
3. India has vast untapped potential of hydro power however the growth in the sector is always sluggish, what are the main reasons behind that.
The basic reason is Uncertainty, the developer is always thinks he is taking a big risk by entering into a field which has many uncertainties; first whether the project he is building will see the light at the end of tunnel or it will be stopped in between as done in case of many projects in Uttarakhand ( Ganga valley), in Sikkim, in Arunachal Pradesh. As of today no State Govt takes any guarantee that once the project comes under construction, it will not be stopped due to external environment. Then there are also cases where there is change in the quantities due to unforeseen conditions then the funding is not done easily. Most of the Hydro projects are in Himalayas and Geology also plays a major role and especially in underground works wherever there are extra ordinary conditions encountered there is a impact on the cost and time. In today’s market conditions although there is great demand of electricity but state govt as preferring a cut rather than paying more money unless there are elections in the State. Under such conditions whether a costly electricity will be sold in the market is a big question mark. Frequently changing guidelines of environment and forest are also matter of concern.
4. Ultra mega Hydro projects can they be a reality in India.
UMHP can be a reality provided Government agencies extend all support in real sense. The large projects involve much larger involvement of public and land both forest as well as private. Where public comes into picture the role of our leaders and politicians becomes much of responsibility. If the project is a Reservoir scheme then the land requirement is still large and may be large area of forest will be involved. A decision will have to be taken by Govt of India by involving all the state Governments and all the departments that once the project is cleared from all the angles and the construction gets started then there should be no hold back or stoppage of the project. No “andolan” shall take place and Govt will deal firmly with such elements who will try to stop the project.
5. GVK is a known for their quality for example the airports developed by them. How you maintain the same quality in Hydro Projects.
We maintain the excellent quality even in Hydro projects by strict monitoring of parameters required for construction. We also involve third party QAQC consultant to independently check all the results and enforce the standards where ever there are deficiencies.
6. Any plans to enter SHP, solar and wind sector.
Not immediately now, but Yes in near future.