In an interview Sunil Mehra, CMD, Tractebel Engineering Pvt Ltd, India, says that the estimated potential from SHP is over 15,000 MW.
The Ministry’s aim is that SHP installed capacity should be about 7,000 MW by the end of 12th Plan, Sunil Mehra, CMD, Tractebel Engineering Pvt Ltd, India, informs R Srinivasan.
Your view about small hydro power (SHP) in terms of overall scenario in 2014. What is the potential for SHP in India and how could SHPs assist in the development of a region? Your view of SHPs as an off-grid solution for remote locations?
Small hydro power ( SHP) is one of the thrust areas of power generation from renewable energy. It has been recognised that small hydropower projects play a critical role in improving the overall energy scenario of the country, and in particular for remote and inaccessible areas where there is no grid connectivity. As per MNRE estimates, the estimated potential for power generation in the country from SHP is over 15,000 MW. The Ministry’s aim is that the SHP installed capacity should be about 7,000 MW by the end of 12th Plan. The focus of the SHP programme is to lower the cost of equipment, increase its reliability and set up projects in areas which give the maximum advantage in terms of capacity utilisation. The potential for SHP is majorly in Himalayan states as river-based projects and in other states on irrigation canals. SHP provides a local support on electricity generation in far-flung areas, thus providing a local alternative to support the non-connectivity to the main grid.
Since the company provides engineering and consulting services to hydel and T&D, what would you suggest for lower capacity projects that face power evacuation issues?
As a consultant our advice would be that the lower capacity projects developers may come together to develop common local grid and transmission line, which can be connected to nearby sub-station of the main grid, if feasible
Are our technologies and equipment up to the task in view of the future? Is there any technology in terms of equipment (turbines, etc) abroad that we ought to adopt?
The Indian hydro sector has a huge potential to grow. As a result, already very wide range of advanced equipment in modular solutions are available through national and international companies, which helps in reducing construction costs and speed up the delivery time. However there is always a scope and need for improvement in increasing efficiency of turbines and generators to capture the full hydro potential.
As a case in point - Dul-Hasti HEP at J&K and Rangit-II in Sikkim - what challenges cropped up while providing design and engineering services, what measures were taken to overcome them and what were the lessons learnt along the way?
Dul-Hasti has been critical for its geological uncertainties, which presented a major challenge to designers and engineers. Finally, the tunnel alignment was required to be changed to overcome this issue. For Rangit-II, the design is still under progress.
The company has provided services for projects in India such as Dul-Hasti (J&K), Rangit-II (Sikkim) and also abroad – Katende (Congo), Nyabarongo II (Rwanda). What were the challenges in terms of geographical terrain?
Challenges are part and parcel with any hydro project that varies with geographical location and topography of the region. For instance in Katende project, the main challenges are lack of accessibility, infrastructure and skilled manpower.
In view of consultancy services, how does the firm manage to restrain cost overruns in such projects that have a tendency to exceed the stipulated time-frame?
As a consultant, we always try to optimise the layout and design of the project components, specific to the project need. We also keep in mind the constructability of various components of the project. Besides, wherever possible we aim to propose to utilise locally available material to save procurement time and costs.
What measures would you suggest to overcome the current untapped hydro potential? To what extent is the target of 49,887 MW by the end of 12th Plan and 62,000 MW in the 13th Five Year Plan feasible?
The target of capacity addition of 10,897 MW in hydro during the 12th Five Year Plan is very ambitious but is possible to achieve if the issues related to project infrastructure and accessibility, funding, environmental clearances, and rehabilitation are addressed.