The construction work has started for a series of micro hydel turbines being set up on three of the proposed four Narmada branch canals which will generate 80 mega watts electricity. The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL), which maintains Narmada canal network, plans to set up turbines at eighteen locations along its branch canal network to generate a total 85 MW electricity for captive use.
This is another first-of-its-kind green energy project of the SSNNL using its canal network. The project is being set up at an investment of Rs 800 crore by P&R Infraprojects Limited and L&S Hydro Engineers Private Limited, the companies that won the tender to carry out civil and hydro works, respectively.
Recently, the SSNNL set up a 3.5-kilometre canal-top solar power project in Vadodara — a first-of-its-kind in the world — which became operational in October last year, generating 10 MW electricity. The project drew world attention with the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visiting the site in January this year. A feasibility study on the micro hydel project began in 2012 and 18 locations were figured out for the installation of turbines that could produce 0.5 MW to 0.75 MW electricity each. Experts said that the project has the potential to generate 80-100 MW electricity using potential sites along the Narmada branch canal network.
Senior SSNNL officials said that the project will be completed in another 24 months and will generate 80MW electricity which will be used for captive use to run generators that are used to lift water along its canal network, especially in Kutch-Saurashtra region. The work is currently being carried out at six sites on Miyagam branch canal in Vadodara and three sites each on Surendranagar and Kutch branch canals.
Engineers working at the construction site said that the branch canal will be diverted at points where turbines are to be set up and a powerhouse area will be built to set up turbines which will generate electricity. A branch canal running between Bodeli and Dabhoi in Vadodara district has six sites for the micro turbines within the distance of 16 kilometres. Each site will have two to three turbines. On the two sites, two turbines will be placed, each generating 0.5 MW electricity. Three turbines will be placed on each of the remaining four sites, with one turbine producing 0.5 MW electricity.
The benefit of hydro project over solar project is the cost of electricity generation as electricity generated by hydro turbines is cheaper , officials said, adding that the SSNNL is looking to tap the potential of both sources of renewable energy to meet its captive requirement. Already, canal-head powerhouse and river-bed powerhouse are operated by the SSNNL at the site of the Narmada dam to regulate the flow of water into the canal network.