Published On:December 24 2008
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NTPC targets 1,000 MW of renewable capacity in next 10 yrs

New Delhi: NTPC, the country’s largest power generator, is targeting over 1,000 MW of renewable capacity over the next ten years, including 650 MW of wind energy and 300 MW of small hydro projects.

Of the ‘green’ capacity on the anvil, the thermal major has already entered into a partnership with Asian Development Bank (ADB), GE Energy Financial Services, Kyushu Electric Power Co and Brookfield Renewable Power for taking up the development of around 500 MW of renewable capacity. NTPC would hold a 40 per cent stake in the venture.

“The company would develop renewable projects in the country and may also consider investing abroad in the near future. Initially, it would concentrate on wind power, mini and micro-hydro electric power and geo-thermal projects,” an official involved in the exercise said. The green foray is part of NTPC’s efforts to emerge as a 75,000 MW plus company by 2017, he said.

While the utility has already commenced work on its hydro development plans, NTPC is scouting for sites to set up a geothermal project of around 30-MW.

Possible locations under consideration include Puga Valley in Ladakh, Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh and some hot-spring sites in Uttaranchal, which have potential for development of power using heat generated from within the earth.

Geothermal power is a renewable energy source whereby electricity is harnessed from the intense heat present in rocks inside the earth’s crust.

These power plants use steam, heat or hot water from geothermal reservoirs to provide the force that spins the turbine generators and produces electricity. The used geothermal water is then returned down an injection well into the reservoir to be reheated and to sustain the reservoir. Wind projects sites are also under investigation, officials said.

NTPC’s proposed renewable thrust could entail higher per-mega watt costs as compared to the costs involved in case of its mainstay thermal projects. Likely cost estimates range from Rs 5-7 crore a MW for wind and Rs 9-10 crore a MW for geothermal, to Rs 10-15 for solar, as compared to around Rs 4-4.5 crore a MW for a greenfield thermal station.

“Despite the higher projected costs, NTPC wants to increase its spread beyond being just a coal-based generator with a view to bring down dependence on fossil fuels and add cleaner sources to the fuel mix,” the official said.

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