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.

Power Watch India - - CONTENTS -

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.

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