Photo shows one of Patel’s construction activities, the Kameng Hydro Electric Project.

Hydroelectric power: win-win for India

Patel Engineering recently announced that the company had won an order worth Rs 1,564.42 crore to build the 2,000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydro Electric project in Arunachal Pradesh. This will be the single largest hydro power generation project in India, the company said in a statement.
^ Photo shows one of Patel’s construction activities, the Kameng Hydro Electric Project.

Article by John Butterfield

The project, located at the village of Kolaptukar in Kamle (formerly lower Subansiri) district of Arunachal Pradesh, comprises the balance of the civil works of the power house complex including the head race tunnel intake structures, tail race channel etc with main components.

Once commissioned, this project will further enhance India’s already significant hydroelectric power capacity. As of 31 March this year, India’s installed utility-scale hydroelectric capacity was put at 46,000 MW, or almost one-eighth of the total utility power generation capacity.

Hydroelectric potential

Looking at the bigger picture, India’s economically exploitable and viable hydroelectric potential is estimated to be almost 150,000 MW. An additional 6,780 MW from smaller hydro schemes (with capacities of less than 25 MW) is also estimated as exploitable.

The public sector accounts for 92.5% of India’s hydroelectric power production. The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), Northeast Electric Power Company (NEEPCO), Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVNL), THDC, and NTPC-Hydro are some of the public sector companies producing hydroelectric power in India. The private sector is also expected to grow with the development of hydroelectric energy in the Himalayan mountain ranges and in the northeast of India. Indian companies have also constructed hydropower projects in Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, etc.

Putting this into a global perspective, India is the 5th globally for installed hydroelectric power capacity. According to an estimate by the International Hydropower Association, the total hydropower potential in India is 660,000 GWh/year, of which 540,000 GWh/year is still undeveloped. Overall, India ranks as the fourth country in the world by undeveloped hydropower potential, after Russia, China and Canada.

Pumped storage units

India has successfully transformed from an electricity deficit state to an electricity surplus state. Peak load shortages can be met making use of pumped storage schemes which store surplus power to meet peaks in demand. The pumped storage schemes also contribute secondary, seasonal power at no additional cost when rivers are flooded with excess water. To date, India has already established nearly 4,800 MW pumped storage capacity with the installation of hydropower plants. In short, by harnessing the power of water, India has created a win-win position for the nation.

References: Patel Engineering, Wikipedia, KGAL

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