NHPC, pre-dominantly focussed on hydro power generation, has decided to explore the possibility of a tie-up with public sector undertaking power utilities such as Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and NTPC to make foray into thermal power generation, including bidding jointly for a future ultra mega power project (UMPP).

Sources in the Power Ministry said that the NHPC board had recently granted approval for entering other modes of generation, including thermal, with a view to diversifying its business. The board had given approval for setting up thermal power project either as a majority partner or as a minority partner. “The need to enter into joint ventures (JVs) and get power PSUs on board was due to technical requirements in execution of such projects and lack of in-house expertise within NHPC in thermal power project. The board is of the view that it would be necessary to form JVs with willing State governments even as majority partner to secure business on nomination basis. For securing business through the bidding route, we shall have to associate with some reputed organisations having experience in thermal power projectsto fulfil the experience criteria,” a senior official said.

Recently, Bihar Power Infrastructure Company Pvt. Ltd. (BPIC), a 50:50 JV of Bihar Government/BSEB and IL&FS, on behalf of Bihar government, had proposed to take up 2 X 660 MW Lakhisarai thermal power project on JV basis with NHPC. NHPC has already prepared a draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) and has forwarded the same to BPIC and BSEB for further discussion and a final word on the JV is expected soon.

NHPC has also approached Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (Mahagenco) for executing the Dhopave 3 X 660 MW and Dondaicha 5 X 600 MW in Ratnagiri and Dhule districts of Maharasthra. The PSU is also looking at bidding for a 4,000 MW UMPP coal-fired pit head power project at Sarguja in Chhattisgarh. The last date for submission of the request for quotations (RFQs) is December 3 in this case.    

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