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Indian firm to add 425MW of hydropower plants to BRIC country

Greenko announces six projects to develop new hydropower cluster in India

Greenko’s six hydropower plants in India will total 425MW

Indian clean energy projects developer Greenko has announced it will add six new run-of-river hydropower plants totalling 425MW to its active development pipeline. The company has said two projects are being added to the existing hydro cluster in India’s Himachal Pradesh, while four are being added to form a new regional cluster in Arunachal Pradesh. Site work is expected to start at both locations in late 2013.

The Himachal projects announced consist of two cascading hydro projects in the Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh. The company said these are located near Greenko's existing projects on a tributary of the Ravi River, which has good hydrology data and offers relatively easy site access.

Anil Chalamalasetty, chief executive of Greenko, said: 'We are pleased to announce the addition of 425MW to our northern hydro projects, with expansion in Himachal Pradesh and the addition of Arunachal Pradesh, secure in the knowledge that we have the technical capability to deliver them.”

New hydro cluster

The projects added in Arunachal Pradesh form a new hydro regional cluster and consist of four cascading run-of-river hydro projects. Arunachal is one of India's most mountainous states and is substantially covered by the Himalayas.

Greenko' said: “This region is one of the few areas remaining in India where large run-of-river projects are feasible, due  to the steep topography and high quality hydrology based on snow melt, glacier melt and rainfall.”

The projects are located on the perennial Yargyap Chu River (a tributary of the Tato River) in the West Siang District and have a catchment area of approximately 839sq km. Greenko said the sites are particularly attractive, as they have good road access, reliable power vacuation and relatively little tunnelling.

Improving hydro portfolio

Greenko's existing northern hydro projects have performed strongly, thanks to excellent hydrology. The company said it now sees an opportunity to further improve portfolio returns through the addition of the new projects, which can connect directly to the high voltage transmission network and deliver premium priced peaking power. As a result, the new projects are expected to have a better than 50 per cent plant load factor for net sellable energy and deliver a superior return on investment.

The existing hydropower portfolio consists of three clusters in Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Karnataka. The Himachal cluster contains 11 operational run-of-river hydro projects totalling 71MW. Two projects totalling 33.6MW are under construction. In Sikkim, Greenko has one 96MW project project under construction. The Karnataka cluster contains five operational run-of-river hydro projects totalling 94.25MW and three projects totalling 58MW, which are under construction.

Underpinning each cluster is a larger pipeline of active development of project companies that are acquired once they have secured the key concessions, resource assessments and agreements, including those projects announced. This adds 115MW in Himachal Pradesh and 310MW in the new Arunachal Pradesh cluster, Greenko said.

The news from Greenko follows other developments to boost hydropower in India. In December 2012, the Indian government approved the construction of a 300MW hydroelectric plant in the northern state of Uttarakhand.