India Infrastructure Research identified 489 major power projects (each with an investment of over Rs 10 billion) in the country, aggregating an investment of almost Rs 32.5 trillion. About 88 per cent of this will be invested in generation projects and the remaining in transmission and distribution (T&D) projects. The generation projects being considered will add over 440 GW to the installed capacity, while the transmission projects will add over 50,000 ckt. km to line length. Of the total investment value, about 42 per cent is accounted for by projects which are proposed for development by private sector players. With respect to the stage of development, 32 per cent of the projects are under construction and about 40 per cent are announced. At present, 18 per cent of the projects are currently stalled due to various issues such as delays in environmental clearances, financial constraints, delay in award of works, etc.
A look at the key projects in the sector…
Since January 2017, 15 coal-based power projects have been completed at an aggregate investment of Rs 550 billion. Some of the key projects are four units of the Nashik thermal power plant (TPP) (1,080 MW) being developed by RattanIndia Power Limited, the 660 MW Prayagraj TPP by Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited and the 660 MW SGPL power project by Semborp Gayatri Power Limited in the private sector; the 800 MW unit of the Kudgi super thermal power plant (STPP), the 660 MW Solapur TPP and the 660 MW Mauda STPP by NTPC Limited; and the 660 MW Chhabra TPP by the Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam and the 800 MW Yermarus TPP by Karnataka Power Corporation Limited in the state sector. Of the total investment, almost 50 per cent has been made by private players and 38 per cent by the central sector (mainly by NTPC).
In the hydropower segment, 2017 witnessed the commissioning of the 1,200 MW Teesta hydroelectric project (HEP) which entailed an investment of over Rs 110 billion. It is one of the largest hydropower plants in the country. Another key project commissioned during the year was a 800 MW unit of the Parbati HEP, Stage II, with an investment of about Rs 78 billion. Meanwhile, nuclear-based capacity witnessed an addition of 1,000 MW with the commissioning of the 1,000 MW Unit 2 of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
In the transmission segment, about 21,000 ckt. km of lines have been completed and over 92,000 MVA of transformer capacity has been added. The largest project completed was the 3,200 ckt. km Western Region-Northern Region high-voltage, direct current interconnector for independent power producer projects in Chhattisgarh, implemented by Powergrid Corporation of India Limited (Powergrid). A national grid improvement project, it involved an investment of Rs 95 billion. Following this, was the 765 KV Wardha-Hyderabad transmission line project with an investment of about Rs 36 billion.
According to India Infrastructure Research, 156 major power projects are under implementation at an investment of Rs 8.55 trillion. These projects will add 63.6 GW to generation capacity and about 33,480 ckt. km to transmission line length. Segment-wise, 57 TPPs are being constructed at an investment of Rs 4,659 billion, 83 T&D projects at Rs 3,146 billion (includes investment by the government under programmes like the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and the Integrated Power Development Scheme, and 16 HEPs at Rs 748 billion.
In terms of ownership, public sector units account for over 75 per cent of the investments in projects under development, the private sector accounts for over 20 per cent and public-private partnerships for about 3 per cent. The projects under implementation comprise 119 greenfield and 37 brownfield projects, aggregating an investment of Rs 6,770 billion and Rs 1,784 billion respectively.
The key coal-based power projects under construction are the 4,000 MW Yadadri power plant in Telangana (Telangana State Power Generation Corporation Limited [TSGENCO]), the 3,600 MW KSK Mahanadi TPP near Akaltara in Chhattisgarh (KSK Mahanadi Power Company Limited) and three plants with a capacity of 1,980 MW each – the Nabinagar coal-based TPP and the Barh STPP Stage I in Bihar and the North Karanpura (Pakri Barwadih) project in Jharkhand (NTPC).
In the hydro segment, some of the large projects under construction are the 1,856 MW Sawalkote HEP in Jammu & Kashmir, the 1,750 MW Demwe (Lower) HEP in Arunachal Pradesh and a 800 MW unit of the Parbati HEP, Stage II, in Himachal Pradesh. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) is constructing the 1,400 MW Units 7 and 8 of the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station and two units of 700 MW each of the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station.
In transmission, Powergrid is engaged in the construction of the Rs 165.2 billion Green Energy Corridor and Grid Strengthening Project and the North East/Northern Western Interconnector I Project with an investment of over Rs 100 billion.
Other major projects
Among the awarded projects, most are in the hydropower segment. A total of 20 projects with a total cost of over 1,000 billion and a capacity of 14 GW have been awarded across states. Most of these projects were awarded several years ago but have failed to make much progress, primarily due to delays in the grant of environmental and technical clearances as well as opposition from local populations. The largest of these is the 2,700 MW Lower Siang hydropower project which was awarded to Jaiprakash Power Ventures Limited in 2006. Meanwhile, there are five major transmission projects aggregating an investment of Rs 150 billion which have been awarded and are yet to begin construction.
In the thermal power segment, 10 projects with an aggregate capacity of 14.3 GW have been approved at a total investment of about Rs 960 billion. These include the 1,600 MW Sundergarh TPP in Odisha, the 1,600 MW Padubidri project, Phase II, in Karnataka and the 1,320 MW Khurja STPP in Uttar Pradesh, each with a cost of over 100 billion.
Further, about 91 projects with an estimated investment of over Rs 5.5 trillion are currently stalled across segments. Some of the big-ticket projects among these are the ultra-mega power projects, the 10,000 MW Upper Siang HEP in Arunachal Pradesh, and the 3,200 MW Katni coal-based TPP in Madhya Pradesh.
Meanwhile, there is a significant pipeline of announced projects. According to India Infrastructure Research, power companies have announced/proposed the development of around 200 major projects entailing an investment of Rs 15.3 trillion. These include 149 TPPs aggregating a capacity of 230 GW (at an expected investment of Rs 13,732 billion), 33 HEPs of 17.5 GW (Rs 1,420 billion), and seven transmission projects (Rs 195 billion). Some of the biggest announced projects are the 2,880 MW Dibang multi-purpose HEP in Arunachal Pradesh, the 3,960 MW Saurashtra STPP in Gujarat and the Trans-Grid 2.0 project in Kerala.
The power sector has been growing at a tremendous pace. Capacity addition in the past has been driven by the strong push through government policies and growth in demand for electricity. Going forward, additions in coal-based power are expected to slow down with an increased focus on renewable energy. Meanwhile, a number of transmission projects are being undertaken in order to integrate the increasing renewable power capacity. With respect to the nuclear power segment which has remained mostly stagnant, the cabinet has approved the construction of 10 units of indigenous reactors of 700 MW each, and this is expected to provide a major boost to the segment.