Key hydro-power projects hit, grid not disturbed

The presence of excessive silt, boulders and floating debris in the upper reaches of rivers in flood-hit Uttarakhand has forced at least six key hydro-power projects in the state to curtail or completely shut down electricity generation to prevent equipment damage.

The NHPC's 280-MW Dhauliganga station and Jaiprakash Power Ventures' 400-MW Vishnuprayag plant are among the worst affected.

According to latest Central Electricity Authority data, updated until June 20, a total of 14 units of four hydro-power stations in the hill state were completely shut due to flood-related issues. Of these, two units of UJVNL's 144-MW Chilla power station were shut due to "high silt and floods in intake" while units of the state's 41-MW Khatima power plant were down due to flooding of the power house.

NHPC's Tanakpur station was also reported to be down due to "high silt and floods in intake".

Besides, projects under construction on the Mandakini river in Rudraprayag district, including L&T Hydro's 99-MW Singholi Bhatwari project, have reportedly suffered some structural damage. Two mini hydel projects of state-run Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (UJVNL) — the 6-MW Kaliganga-I and 4-MW Kaliganga-II — have been hit due to mudslides while five other projects run by the state, including the 90-MW Maneri Bhali-I and the 304-MW Maneri Bhali-II, are among those shut down as a preventive measure.

Uttarakhand's total installed capacity is 2,560 MW, comprising entirely of hydroelectric stations and includes mini and micro hydel plants. Power ministry officials said given the size of the integrated NEW (north-east-west-northeastern) grid, the sudden outages of hydro units in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have not affected overall grid stability.

Although the extent of damage at Dhauliganga and Vishnuprayag due to vital systems being submerged is still being ascertained, both stations are covered by industrial risk insurance policies.

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