Hydropower generates opportunities for businesses in India

September 6, 2016

In recent years, India has emerged as a world leader in renewable energy and this growth is presenting opportunities for businesses looking to diversify their activities.

A range of renewable energy developments such as wind and solar, from the smallest to the largest scale, are planned and getting underway all around India. There’s also still plenty of untapped potential for hydropower, particularly in the rugged north and north-west of the country.

Estimates suggest that less than a third of the country’s potential for hydropower has so far been exploited – and that presents an opportunity for organisations seeking to embrace renewable developments as part of their commitment to sustainable social and industrial development, quality of life, and a clean energy future for the nation.

The time is ripe for private investment in hydropower in India. Significant government incentives and subsidies are available to encourage increased hydropower development. Hydropower also offers added value to the power network in the form of immediately dispatchable power to balance any variability of solar and wind output.

Enthusiasm and opportunities are two important factors leading to hydropower success, but another critical factor is reliable expertise, and this may be less available to many potential proponents of hydropower projects if they are new to the hydropower sector.

Progressing through all the necessary steps of any power development process is difficult at the best of times, let alone for a developer who has little or no prior experience.

Hydropower, like all power developments, has its challenges: land acquisition, resettlement, rehabilitation, geology, technical challenges in dam and scheme design and construction, financing, and so on. These challenges can be considerable, but can also be overcome with the right expertise on hand.

Chanju-I hydropower project: a success story

When Indo Arya, a large conglomerate with interests in steel, thermal power and logistics, decided to make its first foray into hydropower, it recognised the need to engage an experienced hydropower consultant and it turned to Entura to provide the long-term support to ensure the hydropower project’s success, from the earliest feasibility study right through to operation.

Chanju-I-hydropower-station--680x300

I A Energy, a special purpose vehicle, was formed for implementation of the Chanju-I run-of-river hydropower project in the Indian province of Himachal Pradesh. I A Energy provided all the financial and management capabilities, while Entura provided the technical expertise and project development knowledge.

Entura’s ongoing role in this project, supporting the client across all project stages as a trusted advisor, went beyond what might be described as ‘owner’s engineer’, achieving a considerable level of collaboration between developer and consultant that enabled the project’s success.

Now, nine years since the earliest site visits, the Chanju-I run-of-river hydropower project is set to deliver its 36 MW of renewable electricity, thanks to the power of the water flowing downstream from the confluence of the Bhararu and Chanju rivers. The project will generate attractive financial returns for its owner and the State Government, but will also directly benefit the local community, with power, tuition and health services.

Chanju-I-hydropower-station---680x300-2

Entura’s involvement over the full cycle of the project helped I A Energy ensure the right location, access and water availability for a viable project. We recommended the site, and then worked closely with the client to progress the project through its various stages, including site investigations, exploration of hydropower potential, environmental impact assessment, feasibility assessment, project approval, tender design, detailed design and construction advice and support.

Entura also assisted I A Energy to set up the organisation of the project and quality procedures on site, and our engineers regularly attended the site to provide ongoing advice and support during construction.

The project involved constructing a 16m-high barrage, a 5km-long headrace tunnel, two underground desilting chambers, pressure shafts, and a surface powerhouse. Entura provided technical expertise in optimising the design and construction, costing, contract packaging, selection of equipment, scheduling and project management. Our involvement delivered valuable outcomes such as increasing the asset capacity from 25 MW to 36 MW.

Overcoming project challenges

During the development phase, the Chanju-I project faced many issues and challenges with the potential to stop or significantly delay the project. These issues included approval delays, environmental issues, stakeholder management, and disagreements with upstream developers with respect to the location and height of the barrage, river basin development plans and infrastructural development.

Chanju-680x300

Entura’s continuous involvement, timely advice and support during critical situations helped the project team stay on top of these challenges, ensuring ultimate project success. In spite of the hurdles, the collaborative approach provided an efficient mechanism to address the issues and move the project forward at all times, even enabling early commencement of construction. By fast-tracking the construction of the project, the developer maximised its returns, and the project has been noted for its speed and efficiency in construction.

The way Entura serviced the project was praised by the project authority and strengthened our relationship with I A Energy. The longevity of Entura’s engagement with I A Energy on the Chanju-I project demonstrates the importance we place on delivering well for our clients, whether the project is small or large, and our ability to work as a valued and reliable partner of the client throughout the full project lifecycle.

To find out more about making the most of the opportunities available in the global renewable energy sector, please contact Ajay Sharma on +91 99 1038 6409.

About the author

Ajay Sharma is Entura’s Director International Business Development and Managing Director, Entura India. He joined Entura and the Hydro Tasmania group in in 2005 and has held range of positions in the business, from senior engineer to specialist and business development manager. As a hydropower engineer, he has undertaken a range of project design, feasibility study and project management work. He led Hydro Tasmania’s project development activities in India and Nepal and developed greenfield hydropower projects. Prior to joining Entura, Ajay worked with a number of consulting firms including Halcrow and Mott MacDonald. He holds a Master’s degree in Management and is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

MORE NATURAL THINKING ARTICLES