Tata Power Company (TPC), one of India’s largest integrated power companies targeting net zero carbon goals by 2045, is planning big in Pumped Hydro Storage Projects (PSP). It will commission two projects of 2,800 megawatts (MW) by 2027 and 2028 and has identified three new potential sites with 9000 MW capacity, says Praveer Sinha, CEO & MD, Tata Power.

TPC will invest about ₹13,000 crore for these two projects -- a 1,800 MW PSP at Shirawata, Pune district and a 1000 MW PSP at Bhivpuri in Raigad district, both in Maharashtra -- which will likely start construction by next year as various clearances are going on, Praveer Sinha told media at Bhivpuri. At both these places, Tata Power has hydropower-generating assets. It will have to construct a new reservoir at Thokarwadi in Bhivpuri and an upper reservoir at Shirwata to kickstart pumped storage hydropower.

Further, the company has identified three more new PSP projects of 9,000 MW capacity in the same region, 3000 MW each at Potalpali in  Thokarwadi, Kataldhara at Walwhan, and Nenavali in Mulshi, all in Raigad district of Maharashtra. Tata Power's legacy in this region spans over a  century. It operates three hydropower projects in the Pune-Raigad region - Khopoli Hydro Generating Station, Bhivpuri Hydro Generating Station, and Bhira Hydro Generating Station that includes a 150 MW Pumped Storage Hydro project.

''India is working on different new sources of renewable energy to meet our energy demand and pumped hydro storage is now seen as a major source to meet peak hour demand as storage capacities for solar are still evolving,'' Praveer Sinha told Fortune India.

A pumped hydro storage project (PSP) is a commonly used technology in many countries, in which water is pumped from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation using low-cost surplus off-peak electric power to run the generators. During peak hour electrical demand, the stored water is released through turbines to produce electric power to balance shortages in the grid. The Union Ministry of Power came out with draft guidelines on pumped hydro storage projects in March with a view to generating over 18 gigawatts (GW) of electricity to bring stability to grids and meet the peak power demand by 2032.  The draft guidelines say India has an on-river pumped storage potential of 103  GW.  It says 8 projects (4745.60 MW) are presently in operation, 4 projects (2780 MW) are under construction, and 24 projects (26630 MW) have been allotted by States which are under different stages of development. Out of about 56 projects with a potential of 73240 MW identified, about 18 are in Maharashtra and about 10 projects in the North East.

Following the notification, nearly 40 gigawatts (GW) of PSP hydro projects are being proposed by leading hydropower producers like National Hydro Electric Power Corporation (NHPC), Tata Power, Adani Green Energy, Greenco etc and nearly half of these potential sites are in Western Ghats, say sources. JSW Energy's subsidiary, JSW Neo Energy, has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Maharashtra for setting up a 960 MW capacity PSP at Pane (Raigarh) Pump Storage Project. JSW's target is to have 10 GW PSPs and has MoUs in place for 6 GW PSPs with state governments like Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, and Rajasthan.

The Greenko group is building a 1,680 MW PSP near Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh which is nearing completion and is planning three more large PSPs. The NHPC has an agreement with the Maharashtra government to build pumped storage hydro projects totalling 7,350 MW capacity at Kalu - 1,150 MW, Savitri - 2,250 MW, Jalond - 2,400 MW and Kengadi -1,550 MW. Similarly, Adani Green Energy's agreement with the Maharashtra Government is to invest nearly ₹60,000  crore in PSP projects over the next five years in the state.

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