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DVC plans Rs 15,000 crore investment for solar and pump storage facilities

Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), the three-way joint venture of the Union, West Bengal and the Jharkhand governments, will invest over Rs 15,000 crore for creating 2,000 MW of solar portfolio and a 1,500 MW (6×250 MW) pump storage project. The investment, aimed at offering a better mix of thermal, hydel and solar power to its present industrial consumers also envisions catering to domestic consumers making use of the open access.

DVC, at present having an installed capacity of 6,897 MW and managing four dams, wants a JV with NTPC for implementing the solar power projects, to come up in phases. DVC would put up the pumping storage facility on its own at Lugu Pahar, Bokaro district in Jharkhand and lift water for storage during off-peak hours.

The company, currently generating 5,990 MW, supplies at 30,000 volts, at an average rate not exceeding Rs 4.90 a unit for industrial consumption. But for entering the domestic segment new distribution network needs to be in place entailing formidable investments. The company has to either make 415 volts low tension (LT) three-phase supply or 230 volts single phase LT supply for domestic consumption. Bringing down supplies from above 30,000 volts to 415 or 230 volts needs to happen gradually but DVC is keen to explore the retail segment, a senior company executive said.

“We are assessing the domestic consumers’ demand for DVC power before taking any investment decision. Jharkhand is our focus since a large area remains untapped,” the executive said. However, the company’s priority remains in supplying power to the upcoming industrial clusters both in West Bengal and Jharkhand for which the power producer has launched a marketing initiative through power melas, he added.

Jharkhand was looking for more power from DVC substituting power from NTPC’s 4,760 MW Vindyachal and 3,000 MW Rihand Power plants in Uttar Pradesh. Although DVC has long-standing issues with mounting dues from Jharkhand Bijli Bitaran Nigam, the Centre’s recent move of deducting Rs 714 crore from Jharkhand’s RBI account for payment towards DVC has created a row.

Nevertheless, DVC wants to invest an estimated Rs 5,146 crore for putting up the pump storage facility in Jharkhand and over Rs 10,000 crore for putting up the floating solar projects in the catchment areas of the DVC dams at Mython, Panchet, Tilaya and Konar.

The solar projects would occupy up to 40% of the water bodies’ space in the said dams’ catchment areas. A feasibility study for the pump storage project has already been done and Solar Energy Corporation of India is preparing a feasibility report on the floating solar projects. A tender was floated for a 50MW solar project last October but talks are on with NTPC to rope them in as a JV partner, the executive said.

Read More: DVC plans Rs 15,000 crore investment for solar and pump storage facilities

2021-09-29 21:00:07

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