Andhra Pradesh

Reports sent to MoEF for green nod

VIJAYAWADA: Keen on using green energy to bridge the electricity deficit during peak hours, the State government is learnt to have submitted project reports pertaining to the three proposed pumped storage hydroelectric projects (PSHPs), to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) for prior environmental clearance.

The expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the Union ministry has scheduled a meeting on October 28 to examine the three proposals sent by New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (NREDCAP), and take a decision on the environmental clearance.

According to information, the three PSHPs are 1,200 MW capacity project at Kurukutti and 1,000 MW project at Karivalasa of Vizianagaram district, and 900 MW capacity project at Somasila in Kadapa district. Last month, the agencies engaged to carry out the techno-economic feasibility studies of seven PSHPs proposed by the State submitted a report recommending that the projects were ‘investment worthy’. Since any river valley project with over 50 MW hydel power generation capacity will require environmental clearance (EC) from the EAC of the MoEF as per Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2006, NREDCAP applied for prior EC.

While Kurukutti (5×240 MW units) and Karrivalasa (4×250 MW units) PSHPs are estimated to cost Rs 4,766 crore and Rs 4,446 crore, the PSHP proposed at Somasila (4x 250 MW units) is estimated to cost Rs 3,498 crore.

The projects also involve construction of dams to create water head for power generation. Although they are capital intensive, the officials said that the projects will be commissioned in a phased manner in five years. The three projects are estimated to annually generate 2,527 million units, 2,107 million units and 1,971 million units. As per the techno-economic feasibility analyses, the per unit levalised cost (including generation and pumping costs) for the three plants stand at Rs 7.85, Rs 8.36 and Rs 7.28, respectively.

The Somasila PSHP in Kadapa district will come up on the left bank of the river close to close to villages Racheyapeta and Ramapuram in Gopavaram mandal. The projects proposed at Kurukutti and Karrivalasa, in Vizianagaram district, envisage to use the head between the upper dam (near Chemidipatipolam village and Ganjaibhadra village) proposed across a minor nallah draining into Boduru Gedda river and lower dam (near Kurrukutti village) proposed across Boduru Gedda river, a tributary of Suvarnamukhi river.

Although the State is an energy surplus one, the variation in renewable energy, fluctuations in coal supplies and growing demand have often posed difficulties to the power utilities during peak hours. Hence, the government is seeing PSHPs as a solution to the problem.

PSHPs are reversible hydroelectric facilities where water is pumped upwards into a reservoir from a water source below it. Whenever power is needed, the water is pumped downwards and is then harnessed to produce electricity. PSHPs have several advantages including balancing variable renewable energy (VRE) power, grid stability and meeting peak energy demand, being free from the effects of environmental hazards, thus reducing air and water pollution, being adaptable to automation, remotely controllable and allows flexibility in operation schedule.

3 power projects

1,200 MW capacity project at Kurukutti (5×240 MW units), estimated cost Rs 4,766 crore
1,000 MW project at Karivalasa of Vizianagaram (4×250 MW units); estimated cost
Rs 4,446 crore
900 MW capacity project at Somasila in Kadapa district; (4x 250 MW units), estimated cost Rs 3,498 crore