Meghalaya is looking at ways to squeeze out as much revenue as it can from its hydroelectric units and today Power Minister Abu Taher Mondal visited the pumped-storage programme at Purulia in West Bengal.
Pumped-storage does exactly what its name suggests – during periods when energy prices are low (the cost of electricity bought and sold on the grid fluctuates according to demand) water is pumped behind dams where it is stored and can then be released when demand (and thus price) peaks. Although extra energy is used pumping the water, the electricity company, in theory, would benefit if it is able to pump at low cost and then release the water and sell the electricity created at a higher price.
The Purulia project is a 4x225MW project commissioned in 2007.
Mondal was accompanied by Power Department Commissioner and Secretary Sanjay Goyal and Subhasankar Debsarma Biswas, Director (Generation) of West Bengal State Electricity Distributor Co Ltd (WBSEDEL).
Biswas delivered a presentation to the minister to highlight the technical intricacies of the project.
During the visit Mondal said, “Paying a visit to the Purulia Pumped Storage Project (PPSP) has been an enriching experience. Notably, this project stands as India’s first 900MW pumped storage project, setting a remarkable precedent for success. Given the escalating demand for power in our state of Meghalaya, we are eagerly exploring avenues to augment the power infrastructure.”
Meghalaya presently operates eight hydroelectric power plants with a rated capacity of 355MW, drawing 228MW from central generating stations. About 68 percent of the state’s power is sourced from hydroelectric means.
With the purchase cost of power sometimes above and beyond the price charged to consumers, the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Ltd (MeECL) often has to resort to load shedding during the dry season.
“The government is going for an all-out effort to ease the power crisis,” Goyal said. “There are many hydro projects in the state and the knowledge gained from our visit to Purulia will be employed in our state projects.”