Capex for FY20 could exceed last year’s by 45.46%: NHPC CMD

New Delhi: State-run National Hydropower Corporation (NHPC) is expecting its capex for the current financial year to be around Rs 3,800 crores or higher depending on the progress of Teesta-VI and Teesta-IV hydro projects, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Balraj Joshi said in an interview. This would be 45.46 percent higher than what the public sector undertaking (PSU) recorded in the last fiscal — Rs 2,577 crores. The CMD said that the state-owned enterprise expects the construction of Teesta-VI HE Project to start soon as it has received a nod from the government and is waiting to get an approval from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

“The HRT works of Parbati-II H E Project are also gaining momentum and we have positive expectations about restarting Subansiri Lower project, too,” Joshi told The Economic Times.

‘RE status to hydroelectric projects will give much-needed impetus’

Commenting on the decision of the government to give renewable status to hydroelectric projects, the CMD said, “The decision shall bring the large hydropower at par with Solar and Wind and it shall provide impetus to the hydro sector. Moreover, the govt. this initiative has attended to most of the issues affecting the hydro sector. Most of the unexploited hydro potential is in the hilly and remote corners of the country and the enabling infrastructure cost for these projects is quite substantial, resulting in higher tariffs. Now, the proposed budgetary support for enabling infrastructure shall help in making the tariff from these projects competitive.”

‘Sector needs multi-pronged strategy’

Joshi noted that one of the major factors that have held back growth in the sector is its capital intensive nature and the fact that it requires a long gestation period. “To overcome these challenges multipronged strategy shall have to be adopted which shall include easing of clearance processes, long term soft loans and making state Govts a willing and proactive partner,” he said.

NHPC’s diversification plans

Speaking about the PSU’s diversification plans, Joshi said that while NHPC’s primary focus is going to be on developing hydropower projects because that’s what has given it an identity, but it is also venturing into the renewable energy sector at the same time to diversify its portfolio. “…as you may be aware we have already commissioned one solar and one wind power station. We have also entered into power trading and we expect a significant contribution from it to our bottom line,” Joshi said.