Hydropower or water power is a sustainable, clean and green source of power that has clear socio-economic and systemic advantages. For several years now, one of the top priorities of the government is to provide reliable access to electricity to all its citizens which can further lead to economic growth. Globally, India stands at 5th position for installed hydroelectric power capacity.
Harnessing the strength of the rushing streams, recently, the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Ltd, has indigenously renovated & modernized its 180 MW (MegaWatt) Baira Siul Power Station located in Chamba in Himachal Pradesh. NHPC’s first power station, the Baira Siul Power Station was under commercial operation from 1st April 1982 and had completed its useful life of 35 years. Now, the renovation and modernization of all three units have been successfully completed and the life of Baira Siul Power Station has now been extended by another 25 years.
Harnessing hydroelectric potential in Himachal Pradesh:
The northern part of India, Himachal Pradesh, holds scenic beauty in the form of mountains, perpetual snow peaks, beautiful crystal lakes, flourishing valleys, rocky ravines, ancient shrines and more. Apart from this, Himachal is endowed with a significant potential for hydroelectricity generation. Satluj, Beas, Ravi and Chenab rivers that provide enormous volumes of water have opened floodgates for the same. Baira Siul Power Station is a significant step towards harnessing hydropower potential in Himachal Pradesh. It is the first hydro station of state-run hydropower giant NHPC to have been taken up for comprehensive Renovation & Modernisation (R&M). The construction of the project was undertaken in 1970-71 by the Ministry of Irrigation and Power and in 1978, the project was taken over by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation. The installed capacity is 3*60 MW.
Renovation & Modernization (R&M)
Renovation & Modernization is a way to up-rate the life extension of the existing old hydroelectric power projects to tide over the shortage of electricity in the nation. They are considered a cost-effective option to ensure efficiency, better availability and also to augment capacity addition. The Renovation & Modernisation (R&M) of the Baira Siul project will bring prompt results in restoration of output capacity and a further improvement in efficiency that can lead to life extension of equipment.
Hydro Power Development in Himachal Pradesh:
The northern state of Himachal Pradesh has been a pioneer state when it comes to hydropower development. From the era of Pre-Independence, two small/mini-hydro schemes Jubbal (50 kW) and Bhura Singh/ Chamba (170 kW) were in operation. The execution of the Bhakra Dam Project took place immediately after Independence and Bhakra Left (after uprating 540 MW) and Bhakra Right (after up-rating 785 MW) projects were commissioned during 1960-68.
Other projects that came into operations are:
Bassi (60 MW) and Giri Bata (60 MW) were installed during 1970-1881 and 1978. Pong (396 MW) on Ravi and Dehar (990 MW) on Beas Sutlej link were commissioned during 1977-83. Baira Siul (180 MW), Sanjaya (120 MW) and Chamera-I (540 MW) were commissioned during 1980-1981, 1989 and 1994. Chamera-II (300 MW), Nathpa Jhakri (1500 MW) and Larji (126 MW) were commissioned during the period 2000-2010.
Harnessing the Strength of Rushing Streams:
As per the study on the reassessment of hydroelectric potential in India, the cumulative installed hydro capacity of Himachal Pradesh is assessed at 18,540 MW in stations with individual station capacity >25 MW, which is 12.76% of the total hydro potential in India. So far more than 50% of the hydroelectric strength has been harnessed and other operations are in the development stage. Through this, not only will it lead to an increase in electricity availability in the state but, it would also increase demand for electricity of the northern grid as well as the national grid.