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Power generation dips as water bodies freeze up

Posted on Nov 12, 06:35PM | UNI

Hydro electric power generation has dipped in Himachal Pradesh with water bodies starting to freeze up with the mercury plummeting to sub zero levels in the higher reaches.

Power generation registered a drop in India's largest hydropower plant, the 1500 MW Nathpa Jakhri Hydro Power plant (NJPC), as the water discharge in Satluj river has come down substantially, concerned officials confirmed.

Most of the big rivers in the state depend upon the discharge of water from glaciers thawing in the higher reaches of Himalayan ranges which freezes and is recharged during the winter months, MET Director Shimla, Manmohan Singh said.

The water discharge has reduced considerably as most of the water bodies and fountains converted into ice bodies following the freezing up. The perennial sources of water would remain blocked for at least three to four months, he said.

The Satluj feeds half-a-dozen power projects on the line.

Its waters, having normal discharge of 1,400 cusecs during the peak monsoon season, was currently reported to have come down to just 205 cusecs.

Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd. (SJVNL) Director (Electrical), RK Bansal said 'Water level has decreased by about 17-25 per cent, which has reduced the total energy generation.' 'We are increasing the efficiency of our plant, so that our units are available round the clock and if the units decrease during the downtime then this is also in the benefit of the country,' Mr Bansal said.

The official said out of six turbines, the current discharge could run only one unit and other turbines could start using the stored water in the dam.

A decline in power generation would lead to frequent power cuts in the plains as more than eight states served by Northern Power grid depend upon the NJPC plant.

However, SJVN spokesman Vijay Verma said they have taken into account this expected annual reduction in power generation. He said, last year, despite such shortfall, the plant had recorded power generation of more than 7300 MU.

Similarly, the Beas, Ravi and Chanab rivers also registered a decline in water flow affecting power generation at a number of hydro project on the banks of these rivers in the state.

Himachal Pradesh, which has a hydropower potential of 23,000 MW, at present taps only 7500 MW through the commissioned Projects.