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NHPC to foray into thermal power

Written by: Staff

Khairi, Himachal Pradesh, Sep 14: The public sector National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) is in the process of acquiring coalmines in Madhya Pradesh for making a foray into thermal power generation, its top official has said.

According to NHPC acting Chairman and Managing Director S K Garg, the corporation is in talks with the Madhya Pradesh government to acquire ''some coalmines'' for strting a thermal plant.

The state government is said to be receptive to the NHPC plan to set up its first project outside the hydel sector.

Though no resolution has so far been passed by the NHPC board for diversification, a ''thought process'' has begun in the top management that the company should enter other uncharted areas to avoid ''stagnation in the future''.

''There is a preliminary thinking in the company about diversification into the thermal power,'' Mr Garg told a group of reporters visiting the NHPC's 540 MW Chamera-I hydel plant on the Himachal Pradesh-Jammu and Kashmir border.

The move of the Rs 24,000-crore hydro major comes close on the heels of the plans by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to enter the hydro domain. Twenty-six per cent of the country's energy supplies comes from the hydro sector against a whopping 73 per cent of thermal power, the rest from nuclear and other non-conventional sources of energy.

The 30-year-old company, which generates a combined 3,755 MW power and is aspiring to reach 10,000 MW by 2012, wants to expand its generating base to ensure a place among the 'Navratna' companies.

''We have to see how long we can go in this direction,'' Mr Garg said. The financial burden of the expansion into thermal through burning fossil fuel could be high, but the company needs to diversify to sustain the country's growing energy demands, he added.

Under the diversification plan, the corporation also plans to venture into trading of power, Mr Garg said. He said the company would be able to sell power through the Power Trading Corporation, a platform for the buyer and the seller. NHPC, which has ten projects in operation in Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal and Sikkim, will retain its role as the dominant hydro power producer, Mr Garg said.

''Hydro power generation is our core business,'' he said. ''We have to however think ahead in the next 10-15 years.'' As many as 11 more projects of the company with a generation capacity of 5,712 MW in states like West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh are presently in various stages of construction.

''We want to go up to 10,000 MW generation capacity by 2012,'' Mr Garg said.


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