Renewable Energy Minister visits NHPC; Unveils India's hydro potential

In a significant stride towards bolstering India’s renewable energy portfolio, Union Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister R.K. Singh recently visited the 2000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project in Arunachal Pradesh/Assam.

Minister’s Insights

During the visit, Minister R.K. Singh expressed his satisfaction with the Subansiri project’s advancements, emphasizing the growing importance of hydel projects. He stressed that achieving round-the-clock renewable energy is not possible without a substantial contribution from hydropower. Recognizing the significance of this, Singh pointed out how India’s hydro capacity is on the rise.

Arunachal’s Hydro Revolution
Singh announced the ambitious plan for 13 hydel projects in Arunachal Pradesh, with a combined capacity of 13,000 MW. These projects are expected to attract an investment of approximately Rs. 1.4 lakh crore, significantly elevating the state’s per capita income. The minister highlighted the role these projects will play in providing 13,000 MW of clean power to the nation.

Challenges and Solutions
Addressing the challenges in the hydroelectric sector, Singh outlined the need to utilize more of India’s available hydel power. Despite a current capacity of 47,000 MW, which is 35% of the available potential, there’s room for improvement. Singh emphasized that developed countries have harnessed 70% to 80% of their available hydro potential, indicating the scope for India to optimize its resources further.

Powering the Future
Singh provided insights into India’s surging power demand, citing a 20% growth in August, September, and October 2023 compared to the previous year. With projections indicating a doubling of power demand by 2030, Singh highlighted the need for swift capacity addition. He shared that India has added 1.9 lakh MW of power capacity in the past nine and a half years, transforming from a power deficit to a power surplus nation.

Financial Overview of NHPC
The article delves into the financial performance of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), emphasizing key financial metrics, such as CAPEX, generation, and incentives. Despite challenges like lower water availability affecting power generation, NHPC has recognized a Profit After Tax (PAT) of Rs. 2,500 Crore for the half-year ending September 30, 2023. The minister assured that NHPC is equipped for its ongoing hydro, solar, and pumped storage projects.

Outlook and Future Plans
Singh outlined India’s achievements in COP21, surpassing the target of making 40% of its capacity from non-fossil-fuel sources by 2030 in 2021. India’s commitment to responsible growth and its leadership in energy transition were highlighted. The minister also indicated that NHPC is focused on maintaining an average return on equity of 16.5% and has set a target CAPEX of Rs. 10,857 Crore for FY’24 on a consolidated basis.

About NHPC
NHPC, a leading hydroelectric generation company and a key player in India’s energy sector, navigated operational challenges with resilience in Half Year FY’24. Despite lower water availability and adverse weather conditions, NHPC’s power stations demonstrated acumen, generating 16,797 million units.

Financially, while Revenue from Operations saw a 5% decline at Rs. 5,056 Crore, an increase in Other Income to Rs. 408 Crore, attributed to higher Dividend Income and Business Interruption Loss realization, contributed to a 1% rise in Profit After Tax (PAT) at Rs. 2,500 Crore. NHPC’s commitment to diverse energy solutions is evident in its hydro, solar, and pumped storage projects nationwide, showcasing strategic foresight.

Despite a lower incentive position in Half Year FY’24, NHPC anticipates recognizing incentives in the second half, aligned with its focus on maintaining an average return on equity of 16.5%. Managing 22 operational power stations (totalling 5551 MW) and 3 subsidiary stations (1546 MW capacity) as of September 30, 2023, NHPC holds a robust 15% contribution to India’s hydropower capacity, reinforcing its pivotal role in the nation’s energy landscape.

The article concludes by reaffirming India’s position as a world leader in energy transition and the transformative impact of hydroelectric projects on the nation’s renewable energy landscape. It stresses the government’s commitment to meeting the surging power demand through a judicious mix of hydro, solar, and other renewable sources.

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