Govt Streamlines Approval Process To Ensure Fast-Track Commissioning Of Hydro Pumped Storage Projects


The government has revamped the approval mechanism for pumped storage projects to ensure that such projects commissioned on a fast track.

Pumped Storage System utilises surplus grid power available from thermal power stations or other sources to pump up water from lower to upper reservoir and reproduces power during peak demand when there is scarcity of power.

To expedite the process of concurrence of hydro pumped storage projects (PSPs), the Central Electricity Authority, under the Ministry of Power, has recently revamped the process for concurrence of Detailed Project Report (DPR) of these projects.

The CEA has established a Single Window Clearance Cell for this purpose.

In line with this, the CEA accorded concurrence to Upper Sileru Pumped Storage Project (PSP) of 1,350 MW being developed at Sileru, Alluri Sitharama Raju district of Andhra Pradesh by APGENCO in record time of 70 days against the stipulated timeline of 90 days, the Ministry of Power said in a statement on Thursday (8 June).

Further, the Central Water Commission (CWC) has nominated nodal officers for fast-tracking the clearance of design aspects. It has also designated more groups for examination of design aspects of DPRs to further fast-track the clearances.

Meanwhile, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has also nominated nodal officers for fast-tracking the clearance of geological aspects of DPRs, and CEA has requested GSI to involve their subordinate and field offices in states to further fast-track the clearances, the ministry said.

Further, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has agreed to appraise Off Stream Closed Loop PSPs with specific Terms of Reference (ToRs).

The Environment Ministry has also notified to appraise PSPs (on existing reservoirs) under B2 category (wherein no Environmental Impact Assessment is required), subject to certain conditions.

These considerations will drastically reduce time in getting Environment Clearance for these PSPs.

The CEA has also published revised Guidelines for Formulation and Concurrence of DPR of PSPs.

Under the revised guidelines, the timeline for concurrence of DPR of following PSPs has been reduced from 90 days to 50 days:

  1. PSPs awarded under section 63 of Electricity Act, 2003 (determination of tariff by bidding process)
  2. PSPs which are part of Integrated Renewable Energy Projects that contain other RE sources such as wind energy, solar energy etc.
  3. PSPs being developed as captive plants or merchant plants.

Timeline for concurrence of DPR of other PSPs has been reduced from 125 days to 90 days, according to the ministry.

The identified potential of PSPs in the country is about 119 GW (comprising 109 PSPs).

Out of this, eight projects (4.7 GW) are under operation, four projects (2.8 GW) are under construction.

CEA has given concurrence for two projects (2.3 GW) and construction of these projects is slated to start shortly.

Further, 33 projects (42 GW) are under Survey and Investigation for preparation of DPRs.

Out of these 33 projects, the Environment Ministry has already given Terms of Reference to 22 projects.