Incorporated in 2001 by the state government, Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UJVNL) has been playing a key role in meeting the power requirements of Uttarakhand. The company is responsible for hydropower generation through the development of new projects, and the renovation, modernisation and upgradation of the existing ones in the state.
UJVNL has built a portfolio of 1.4 GW of hydropower projects so far. During 2022-23, it commissioned a new hydropower plant, the 120 MW Vyasi project, in Dehradun.
Going forward, the company has a strong project pipeline and is working towards enhancing the state’s hydropower portfolio to 6.27 GW by 2025 and 7.64 GW by 2030. Servicing and rehabilitation of existing projects are also among the key strategies of UJVNL. Besides, it is working on the development of solar energy projects in the state. UJVNL plans to enhance its generation capacity from around 5,000 MUs per annum to 10,000 MUs per annum by 2030.
Project portfolio and operational performance
UJVNL’s existing hydropower capacity of 1,420.6 MW comprises small hydropower projects (SHPs) and large hydropower projects (LHPs) of above 25 MW.
LHPs account for around 96.6 per cent (1,372.15 MW) of the total installed capacity while SHPs account for the remaining 3.4 per cent (48.45 MW). UJVNL’s key large hydro projects are the 304 MW Maneri Bhali-II hydroelectric project (HEP), the 240 MW Chibro HEP, the 198 MW Ramganga HEP, the 144 MW Chilla HEP and the 120 MW Khodri HEP, among others.
In total, the company has 19 LHPs and SHPs in the state. Its latest projects, added in May 2022, are the 120 MW (2×60 MW) Vyasi hydropower project and the Kaliganga-II SHP (4.5 MW). The Vyasi hydropower station is a run-of-the-river project on the Yamuna River with a pondage scheme, located at Juddo. The Kaliganga-II SHP is a run-of-the-river project without any storage.
The commissioning of these projects has helped in increasing the company’s installed capacity from 1,317.96 MW in 2017-18 to 1,322.46 MW in 2021-22 to 1,420 MW during 2022-23.
During 2021-22, UJVNL’s hydropower projects generated a total of 5,157.27 MUs against the target generation of 4,837 MUs. Its hydropower generation has increased by 8.47 per cent from 4,754.77 MUs in 2020-21. As of December 2022, electricity generation stood at 4,647.59 MUs. Six of its power stations – Maneri Bhali-II (4×76 MW), Chilla (4×36 MW), Chibro (4×60 MW), Vyasi (2×60 MW), Khodri (4×30 MW) and Maneri Bhali-I (3×30 MW) – accounted for around 77.3 per cent of the total generation.
The utility’s Pathri SHP has achieved the highest availability of 97.63 per cent, followed by the Dhalipur LHP (96.28 per cent), the Maneri Bhali-I LHP (90.99 per cent), and the Khatima LHP (90.19 per cent) during 2021-22.
UJVNL also operates grid-connected solar PV plants of 26.36 MW capacity. Of the total grid-connected solar PV plants, 20 MW has been installed at the Yamuna Valley, 5.864 MW near its Khodri HEP and Dhakrani HEP and a 0.5 MW rooftop solar PV plant at the Pathri HEP. During 2021-22, the average CUF for its solar plants was 16.3 per cent.
UJVNL registered a total income of Rs 9.5 billion during 2021-22 as against Rs 9.57 billion during 2020-21, recording a decline of nearly 0.73 per cent. During 2017-18 to 2021-22, the company’s total income grew at a CAGR of 5.12 per cent. By 2030, the company’s targeted turnover will be Rs 34 billion.
Meanwhile, it recorded a net profit of Rs 1.22 billion during 2021-22 as against a profit of Rs 1.41 billion during 2020-21. The net profit has registered a CAGR of 17.5 per cent since 2017-18.
The company’s capex increased by 8.73 per cent to Rs 1.99 billion in 2021-22 from Rs 1.83 billion in 2020-21. UJVNL’s net worth stands at Rs 26.14 billion as of March 31, 2022.
UJVNL has several large and small hydro power projects under construction, expected to be commissioned in the next five to seven years. It is undertaking the construction of the Lakhwar HEP (3×100 MW), which is expected to be commissioned by December 2027. In addition, the Bhilangna SHP (24 MW) and the Madhmaheshwar SHP (15 MW) are scheduled to be commissioned in December 2026 and March 2023 respectively. Further, the construction of the Suringad-II SHP (5 MW) is completed, and the project is scheduled to be commissioned soon.
UJVNL is implementing another key project, the Kishau multipurpose project, in a joint venture with the Himachal Pradesh government. The project, with a proposed installation of 660 MW (4×165 MW), is expected to have an annual energy generation of 1,379 MUs. The project is scheduled to be commissioned in March 2028. Once completed, it will benefit six states including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.
For the next two years, that is, 2023-24 and 2024-25, the company has planned a capital expenditure of around Rs 14.55 billion and Rs 12.54 billion, respectively for its upcoming large hydro projects. Meanwhile, capex of Rs 1.66 billion and Rs 2.91 billion has been planned for SHPs during the same period.
Apart from projects under construction, there are various hydro projects for which DPR are under preparation. These projects include the Arakot Tiuni HEP (3×27 MW), Tiuni Plasu HEP (3×24 MW), Sarkari Bhyol Rupsiabagar HEP (4×30 MW), Bowla Nandprayag HEP (4×75 MW), Nand Pyayag Langasu HEP (4×25 MW), Tamak Lata HEP (4×47.5 MW) and Sela Urthing HEP (4×50.5 MW).
The company is also undertaking renovation, modernisation and uprating works for the Dhalipur (51 MW), Chilla (144 MW), Tiloth (90 MW) and Dhakrani (33.75 MW) projects. UJVNL is undertaking repair and maintenance works for five barrages with financial assistance from the World Bank under its Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project.
Apart from hydro, the genco is planning to install 150 MW of solar power capacity at various project sites and on unutilised land around buildings in the next five years at an investment of around Rs 8.25 billion. Further, it is planning to install canal-based solar projects.
In the long term, UJVNL aims to explore other clean energy technologies such as green hydrogen and hybrid solar-hydro and PSP projects for the supply of round-the-clock power.
On the technology front, the company is planning to install hydro kinetic turbines (HKT) on channels/streams. HKT is expected to harness power at the community level. It will provide non-polluting energy to remote areas where grid power is not available. Also, it could supplement solar-powered irrigation pumps.
Challenges and the way forward
The issues and challenges facing the hydropower segment impact UJVNL as well. These include local issues causing delays in project implementation, lack of competent contractors, long gestation periods, and delays in availability of evacuation infrastructure, leading to time and cost overruns and unviable tariffs under power purchase agreements. There are other challenges such as difficult terrain, geological surprises while developing projects and natural disasters.
On a brighter note, the state government is implementing enabling measures to support hydropower producers in Uttarakhand. The state government has approved a new policy, under which investors will now have to pay Rs 0.01 million as development tax, which was earlier Rs 2.5 million. Another amendment has been the allocation of projects for 40 years after the scheduled commercial operation date.
Going forward, the timely execution of projects by UJVNL will play a key role in helping the state achieve stable and secure power supply from green energy sources and achieve its growth targets.
Based on presentations by Pankaj Kulshreshth, Executive Director, UJVNL, at a recent Power Line conference