Russian hydro utility pursues 20,000 MW in India

A board member of Russia’s HydroOGK says the giant hydropower utility is seeking deals to install 20,000 MW of hydropower in India costing US$30 billion.

Board member Sergei Pavlenko said October 4 that the hydro projects would account for 40 percent of the total hydroelectric capacity India wants brought on line over the next 15 years as part of the country’s long-term energy strategy.

Deputy Chief Executive Vasily Zubakin said HydroOGK would rely primarily on Russian machine builder Power Machines to provide the technology for the construction. Zubakin also named Germany’s Siemens as a possible supplier.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is due to visit Russia in November. With real domestic growth averaging 8 percent per year for the past four years, India’s industrial expansion and rising middle class have created unprecedented demand for power.

India is proposing 143 hydropower projects to potential investors, mainly involving the damming of rivers in its northern Himalayan region.

“Our engineers have worked little in the Himalayas, which have a strange geology,� Pavlenko said. �Selecting the projects we will be capable of taking part in will take several months at least.”

Before moving forward with these investments, HydroOGK wants to see the Indian and Russian governments formally outline their cooperation, Zubakin said.

In June, HydroOGK signed a memorandum of understanding with Indian investment company Sun Group to cooperate in developing hydropower in India and possibly in Russia. (HNN 6/11/07)

“Entering another market with the help of a local partner will help us lower risk,” Zubakin said, referring to Sun Group.

Restructuring of HydroOGK, which involves its spin-off from parent company Unified Energy Systems plus consolidation of 21 regional hydroelectric providers, will come up for a vote October 16 when the company’s shareholders meet with the 21 firms. HydroOGK, which holds 27,300 MW of capacity, plans to double it by 2020 through joint projects in Russia and abroad.

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