NTPC Ltd, formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation, took another step in its journey towards reducing its dependence on coal-fired plants by signing an agreement to develop two hydropower stations with a combined capacity of 520 MW.
The two projects, for which NTPC has signed agreements with the Himachal Pradesh government, can be classified as medium-sized, given that large power projects tend to mean those with 600-3000 MW of power production capacity.
State-owned NTPC, by far the biggest producer of power in India, has been keen to reduce its dependence on coal projects. It currently gets over 90% of its revenue from coal-based power plants — mostly in the form of a power producer.
Besides hydropower, the company has been investing heavily in building up its expertise, and portfolio, in solar power. It is both a construction contractor as well as a producer of solar power.
The latest agreement will see NTPC create two hydro-electric projects, both on the Chenab river in Himachal Pradesh.
The Seli power project will be located in Lahaul districtd, while the Miyar hydroelectric project is located in Spiti.
Seli, the bigger of the two, will produce around 400 MW of power, and will include a pond, while Miyar, of 120 MW, is a run-of-the-river project with no pondage.
The 800 MW Koldam Hydropower Station, NTPC’s first hydroelectric power project, was set up in Himachal Pradesh in 2015, and contributes about 28% of the power supply to the state, the company said.
As of March, NTPC had a total power generation capacity of 55.13 GW, out of the total 356 GW capacity at a national level. Besides the 800 MW Koldam project, NTPC also had 1.43 GW of solar capacity and close to 1 GW of other renewables, including wind, small hydro and so on.
NTPC produced 306 billion power units in the last financial year, out of the total 1,376 billion units produced in the country as a whole. Out of this, Koldam Hydro accounted for 3 billion, or about 1%, of the total output of the company.