#Power #PSUs #set #stuck #private #hydel #projects
The projects have a combined capacity of 30,000 megawatt or roughly 7.5% of India’s total installed generation capacity, and were awarded to private companies by six north-eastern states but have not made much progress due to reasons ranging from lack of funding to expertise, power minister R K Singh told TOI.
The move underlines the Narendra Modi government’s renewed thrust on hydel as part of its climate action strategy to achieve 50% of power from non-fossil sources by 2030 and make India net zero by 2070. Currently coal accounts for 70% of electricity supply and renewables 25%. The projects have been languishing due to issues related to funding, expertise, land acquisition and clearances.
“We reasoned with the state governments that it is not in their interest to allow the projects to languish. We suggested to let PSUs (public sector undertakings) take over the projects and complete them so that the states can derive the benefits at the earliest since they have the experience and money,” Singh said.
The state governments were agreeable to the proposal but pointed out the projects could get stuck in litigation with promoters if the awards are cancelled. The best alternative, it was felt would be the joint venture or special purpose vehicle route.
“We are open to the idea that the PSU taking over a project will pay genuine costs incurred by the promoter. For example, suppose some developer has built an office for the project. The PSU taking over the project can make good such expense. But only after thorough audit. These are being studied currently,” Singh said. The power ministry has several profitable hydel entities, Including NHPC, Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam, THDC and Neepco, a subsidiary of thermal power major NTPC, that can step up to the task.