SRINAGAR: The state government is planning to host a global investors meet to attract investment in hydropower, after power minister Sunil Sharma sent a proposal to the administration department. Director of State Power Development Corporation (SPDC) Shah Faesal told Kashmir Reader that the meet will likely be held in the last week of July.
“Top-notch companies operating in sectors of hydropower and civil engineering will be invited to participate in it,” Faesal said.
According to Faesal, investors from the NORDIC countries, Germany, and those currently operating in the state, will be hosted in Kashmir to bring to their attention the untapped hydropower resources in the state.
“We have been hearing for 50 years now that the state has this much of hydropower potential, but it has never been able to harness it. This meet will provide a way to do something,” Faesal said.
J&K has harnessed only a small percent of its estimated 20,000 MW hydropower potential in the past two decades. Construction on a number of projects has been going on for years and has missed many deadlines. There are eight power projects – Sawalkote (1,856 MW), Kirthai I (390 MW), Kirthai II (930 MW), Pakal Dul (1,000 MW), Kwar (540 MW), Kiru (624 MW), Bursar (800 MW) and Ujh (212 MW) – work on which has been going on for a number of years.
The idea of the investors’ meet was suggested by power minister Sunil Sharma, Faesal said.
Asked why foreign investors would invest when the hydropower market is in a slump, Faesal said that India is a developing country where thousands of villages still do not have accesses to electricity. He said this makes India a vast potential market for investment in hydropower.
“India is not Germany that has surplus energy. It still has huge requirement for hydropower. The slump in market is temporary,” Faesal said.
The state power development corporation has suffered losses with a series of hydropower projects, most recently with the Baglihar II. It has failed to lure any buyer for its electricity for more than a year, as its selling cost of per unit of energy – Rs 4.4 – is nearly Rs 2 higher than the market rate. The SPDC managed to sell the power at about Rs 4 per unit to the Uttar Pradesh government, but for one year only. The SPDC may have to struggle again next year if UP does not continue the contract. The company is currently drafting an approach paper to study the financial viability of hydropower.