Due to inability of CPSUs to pay upfront premium to the states, projects are not allotted to CPSUs. However, recent permission by the Government of India to pay upfront premium to states made it easier for procuring projects by NEEPCO.
NEEPCO, which got the 'Miniratna' status in April this year, has an installed capacity of 1,130 MW, which is 47 percent of the total installed capacity of the north eastern region. Nineteen power projects, including twelve 3,918 MW capacity hydel power projects and four thermal power projects with installed capacity of 5,595 MW, are now in various stages of commissioning and planning in the north eastern region by different organisations, including NEEPCO.
The power plants would be set up in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Mizoram and Tripura. Three power projects totalling 1,344 MW would also be commissioned by private organisations in Arunachal Pradesh. The hydro-power potential of the north eastern region is estimated at about 58,971 MW, but only less than two percent (1,200 MW) has so far been harnessed till early this year. NEEPCO is also planning to generate at least 1,500 MW power from non-conventional sources of energy such as solar and wind in the next five years.
The meeting deliberated on the steps taken to improve the power scenario in the north east. With the restructuring of the State Electricity Boards (SEBs) post Electricity Act 2003, and strengthening of distribution network by the respective State Governments in the north east region, it is expected that the per capita consumption of electricity in the region would increase. Recently NEEPCO has procured Siang Upper HEP, Stage-II (3750 MW) in Arunachal Pradesh and two more projects viz, Siang Upper HEP Stage-I (6000 MW) and Kurung HEP (330 MW) are in the pipeline.
The Members of the Consultative Committee applauded the role played by the ministry and NEEPCO towards power generation in the north east. Laying emphasis on afforestation, the members highlighted the issues related to relief and rehabilitation which should be addressed by the ministry while setting up a new power plant in the region.
The members also pointed out that there is abundance of coal and gas in the region which should be harnessed by NEEPCO to generate more power. Mr Jyotiraditya Scindia assured one of the members that power projects will be taken up in the state of Sikkim also by NEEPCO.
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