The 1450 MW hydro power plant,installed at an estimated cost of over Rs 5,000 crore on the Narmada dam in Gujarat about nine years ago,has so far generated a phenomenal 30,000 million units of power.
Apart from Gujarat,it has distributed power to Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra as well.
Even at Rs 2.05 per unit,which is the power purchase agreement we signed with Gujarat State Electricity Company Limited (GSECL),we have generated Rs 6,150 crore worth of power. This has exceeded the project cost of Rs 5,080 crore and the O&M (operations and maintenance) cost of Rs 155 crore so far, said General Manager (Technical & Co-ordination) of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) M B Joshi.
The break-even happened sometime earlier this year. Currently,the dam generates on an average 25 to 30 million units of power daily, Joshi added,while elaborating on how the hydro power project has managed to recover the cost incurred in its construction in the ninth year after it first started generating power.
The entire hydro project is divided into two main parts. First is the 1,200 MW river-bed powerhouse,which is an underground powerhouse stationed on the right bank of the river,located about 165 meters downstream of the dam. The second is a 250 MW canal head powerhouse,which is a surface power station,located in a saddle dam on the right bank of the dam reservoir. Both these powerhouses can be operated with minimum reservoir water level of 110 meters.
Of the 1450 MW of installed capacity,however,826 MW,which accounts for 57 per cent of the power produce,is shared with Madhya Pradesh,391 MW with Maharashtra (27%) and only 232 MW (16%) is distributed within Gujarat.
According to the state governments figures,764 million units of power was sold to Gujarat between September 2012 and August 2013. This is about 22 per cent more power than the 600 million units sold during the same period a year ago.
Apart from direct power generation,SSNNL officials also point to certain indirect benefits from the hydro project on the Narmada dam. Due to the availability of Narmada water for irrigation purposes,an estimated 1,00,000 million KWh (kilowatt-hour) of power would have been saved due to reduced groundwater pumping, Joshi claimed.