Construction to continue at 1,200-MW Teesta-III hydroelectric project


India’s Power Minister Piyush Goyal on Sept. 9 said US$1.4 billion has been invested in the 1,200-MW Teesta-III project, whose backers include Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley. But, more money is needed to reach the country’s renewable energy goals.

About 90% of work at Teesta-III is complete, according to published reports, and remaining construction would continue soon, said Deepak Amitabh, chairman for New Delhi-based PTC India Ltd. whose company is a minority investor in the project.

The plant was supposed to be commissioned in September 2012, but the latest estimates project the facility would be commissioned in 2017.

Teesta-III is in northeastern Sikkim state in a politically turbulent area that borders China, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Currently, China claims nearly 35,000 square miles of land in the mountainous state of Arunachal Pradesh that is also part of the region.

Goyal said a major challenge exists in securing investments totaling $200 billion India needs to reach its renewable energy goal of reaching 175 GW of installed capacity by 2022.

India has roughly 42 GW of hydroelectric power generation capacity, which is about 15% of the nation’s total installed capacity. State-owned National Hydropower Electric Corp. (NHPC Ltd.) estimates he country’s hydropower potential is 149 GW.

The Sikkim government holds 51% in the Teesta project and Singapore-based Asian Genco Pte. about 37%, according to NHPC Ltd. company officials.

Goyal said his next objective is to speed up NHPC’s 2,000-MW Subansiri hydroelectric project spread across Assam and Arunachal Pradesh states. The project is almost a decade behind schedule and, according to government estimates, could cost more than double original estimates.

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