Wednesday, 13 November 2013

NEEPCO: The Dominant Power Producer in the North East

The North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) was incorporated on 2nd April 1976 as a wholly owned Government enterprise under the Ministry of Power to plan, promote, investigate, survey, design, construct, generate, operate and maintain both hydro and thermal power stations for the development of power potential in the North Eastern Region (NER). The authorised share capital of the Corporation is Rs. 5000 crore. The Corporation currently meets 56% of the energy generated by the NER. 
NEEPCO, a schedule-A, Mini Ratna Category-I Government Enterprise, today operates five hydro and two thermal power stations spread over the North Eastern Region of India with a total installed capacity of 1130 MW, comprising of 755 MW in hydro sector and 375 MW in thermal sector (gas based). Besides, NEEPCO is in the process of adding another 922 MW of installed capacity within the 12th plan period, thereby increasing its’ total installed capacity to 2052 MW. NEEPCO has also drawn up plans to add several hydro power projects in the coming years, including the ambitious 3750 MW Siang Upper Stage-II HEP in the State of Arunachal Pradesh. Two more projects viz, Siang Upper HEP Stage-I (6000 MW) and Kurung HEP (330 MW) are in the pipeline. In addition to seven power stations under operation (1130 MW), NEEPCO is presently engaged in the construction of five projects (922 MW). Another ten projects of 6110 MW are in the pre-construction stage.
NEEPCO is currently generating about 755 MW of power from its hydro power projects which includes Kopili Hydro Electric Project in Assam (150 MW), Kopili Power Station, Stage I Extension, Assam (100 MW),  Kopili Power Station, Stage II Extension, Assam (25 MW), Doyand Hydro Electric plant in Nagaland (75 MW) and Ranganadi Hydro Electric Plant in Arunachal Pradesh (405 MW). In the thermal sector, NEEPCO is generating around 375 MW of power from Assam Gas Based Power plant, Assam (201 MW) and Agartala Gas Turbine Plant, Tripura (84 MW). The average Plant Availability Factor (PAF) of the hydro power stations has been 77% and for thermal power stations average PAF was 76% during the year 2012-13. 
NEEPCO has also undertaken some projects which are under construction. These include Kameng HE Project, Arunachal Pradesh (600 MW), Pare HE Project, Arunachal Pradesh (110 MW) and Tuirial HE Project, Mizoram (60 MW).  Thermal based Tripura Gas Based Power Project, Tripura (101 MW) and Agartala Gas Turbine Combined Cycle extension Project, Tripura (51 MW) may be able to meet the target of generating power commercially by May 2014 and December 2014 respectively.
NEEPCO has taken several steps for the speedy execution of the projects. Modern Project Management software “Primavera” is used for project planning, scheduling and monitoring by NEEPCO. NEEPCO also appoints Retainer Consultants & Panel of Experts (POE) from time to time to advise and suggest measures for addressing various technical issues to ensure timely completion of the Projects. NEEPCO also issues notice to non-performing contractors in terms of the contract agreements.
In the recent years, NEEPCO has diversified its activities and has taken several initiatives for the development of Renewable Energy Projects. In this regard, an Expression of Interest (EOI) inviting request for Proposal (RFP) for short listing of agencies for implementation of  Renewable Energy Projects (solar & wind) of at least 10 MW capacity and above in joint venture with NEEPCO was floated on 15.05 2013. Seven parties participated in the bidding process and bids were opened on 28th June’13 and evaluation is in progress. NEEPCO has also initiated preparation of DPR for assessment of wind potential in the vicinity of the Kopili Hydro Electric Project in Assam. The expected installed capacity of this wind farm is 2 MW. Work order to carry out detailed investigation has been placed with Centre for Wind Energy Technology (CWET), Chennai. While the site for the proposed project has been identified, the process of carrying out detailed investigation works are in progress. With regard to solar power projects, NEEPCO has finalised DPR for the Grid Interactive Solar Power Plant at TGBP Site, Tripura. The project is scheduled for completion within 12 months from the date of reward.
NEEPCO has acquired the expertise for planning and executing both hydro and thermal power projects. With the support of its highly qualified and experienced professionals in design and engineering, NEEPCO is well poised to provide consultancy services to the public as well as private sectors in both hydro and thermal power projects from conceptualization to commissioning and maintenance. NEEPCO has already prepared 18 PFRs of hydro projects in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland under the Prime Minister’s 50,000 MW hydro initiatives. Further, NEEPCO has expressed its interest to take up consultancy work to prepare PFRs of hydro power projects to the State Government of Meghalaya.
In fulfilling its CSR commitments, NEEPCO has adopted the structured schemes in line with DPE guidelines on CSR activities and the focus is on rural India and backward districts of the hill states of North Eastern Region. It has also adopted three ITIs; two in Arunachal Pradesh and one in Assam. NEEPCO also provides medical equipments to medical colleges in the North Eastern region, holds free medical camps, funds scholarships to economically backward students in and around project areas. 
NEEPCO is in the process of adding 922 MW during the 12th Plan period, which shall enhance the installed capacity from 1130 MW to 2052 MW.  So far as AT&C losses are concerned, NEEPCO is strengthening the intra-state transmission network in the entire North East to reduce AT&C losses. The total AT&C losses for the year 2010-11 for North-Eastern Region and Eastern region were 37.33% and 38.24% respectively as against that in respect of Northern Region, Southern Region and Western Region which were 28.91%, 19.26% and 24.44% respectively. Seeking to generate more power in the North-East and concentrating more on projects based on coal and gas, NEEPCO is harnessing coal and gas which is found in abundance in the region. Moreover, the recent permission by the Government to pay upfront premium to states has made it easier for procuring projects by NEEPCO.
With the increasing power demand across the region, NEEPCO is enhancing generation capacity in all its existing thermal power plants by switching over to combine cycle from open cycle, which will also reduce pollution as well as wastage of energy.                     
Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) Plan forms a part of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Management Plan Reports (EIA and EMP) and is assessed and approved by the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) for according Environmental Clearance to the project. This R&R Plan for project affected families is implemented in association with the concerned State Government, representatives from project affected families and other stakeholders in the area. In the process, NEEPCO explores various viable alternatives and select the one causing least displacement or adverse impacts. Therefore, a detailed socio-economic survey is conducted before formulation of R&R Plan for the project affected families (PAFs) so as to assess the socio-economic and socio-cultural set-up of the affected families and local people.
Presently the net profit of the company is Rs 250 crore and in another three years it will be around Rs 800 crore. NEEPCO is harnessing coal and gas which is available in abundance in the North East for generating power and at the same time it will take up power projects in the state of Sikkim. With the strategic location of the North East, NEEPCO is playing a significant role in providing electricity to the region.
The Government has constituted an Empowered Group of Ministers of DONER Ministry to review and expedite implementation of the infrastructure projects and other issues in the North Eastern states. It will also prepare a basin wise master plan for evacuating power of various projects in the region which is NEEPCO’s main concern. NEEPCO is also laying emphasis on afforestation while undertaking any project in the North East. In the process of expanding its sphere of operation, NEEPCO is also including the state of Sikkim in its scheme of work. Owing to stay order from courts and protests by local people, the Subansiri hydro power project on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border, has been stalled.
NEEPCO has great potential since the North East lock combined with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh has capacity to move 24 gigs of power from this region. NEEPCO is striving continuously to harness coal and gas to generate thermal power generation as it is available in abundance in the region. In spite of the inhospitable climatic conditions, remote location and inaccessibility of geographical locations, NEEPCO stands to play a significant role in the North East by utilising the available resources in the region for power generation. 

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