|NEEPCO CMD PC Pankaj|
limited to commission new power projects in the region, foreign investment as well as a sophisticated structure is urgently required to tap the vast resources of the northeastern states to generate electricity.
He said that the northeastern region will be a power surplus area in the country within two years and it would help to attract industries in the region. He also said that the region may even be able to supply power to Bangladesh if the two countries agreed.
The hydro-power potential of the region is estimated at about 58,971 MW, which is almost 40 percent of the country's total hydro potential. But only about 2.1 percent (1,242 MW) has so far been harnessed till May this year. The region has 151.68 billion cubic metre reserve of natural gas which is capable of generating 7,500 MW of electricity for 10 years and the region possessed 864.78 million tonnes of coal against 186 billion tonnes of reserves in the country. With the coal reserves in the region, about 240 MW of power can be generated for a period of 100 years.
In the entire northeastern region that comprises eight states with a population of 45.58 million, the peak hour demand of electricity is around 2,200 MW.
NEEPCO has an installed capacity of 1,130 MW, which is 47 percent of the total installed capacity of all the power projects of the northeastern region. Within two years the NEEPCO would commission five power projects in various states with the installed capacity of 927 MW.
The PSU that got Miniratna status in April last year, is in the process of setting up of a 50 MW capacity solar power project in Madhya Pradesh in a joint venture and a 100 MW wind power plant in Gujarat.
NEEPCO is also planning to generate at least 1,500 MW from non-conventional sources of energy such as solar and wind in the next five years.
NEEPCO was set up in 1976 to plan, design, construct, generate, operate and maintain power stations in the northeastern region.
Besides NEEPCO, several other government run organisations - National Thermal Power Cororation, National Hydroelectric Power Corporation and ONGC Tripura Power Company - are commissioning thermal and hydro-power projects in the region.
He said that the per capita consumption of electricity in the northeastern region is 257 kw an hour against the national average of around 850 kw. "This is mainly due to lack of industries in the region."
Pankaj said NEEPCO has also undertaken several other power projects with the total generation capacity more than 5,000 MW in Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. These projects would start generation of power within the next eight years.
On July 21 NEEPCO signed a Rs 500 crore deal with the Tripura government to augment the generation capacity of three power plants in Tripura by 62 MW without increasing fuel consumption.