Central Electricity Authority (CEA) accelerates concurrence for Upper Sileru Pumped Storage Project within record time.
In a significant move to expedite the commissioning of Pumped Storage Projects (PSPs) and propel the growth of India’s renewable energy capacity, the government has implemented several measures. The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) recently provided concurrence to the Upper Sileru Pumped Storage Project (PSP) in just 70 days, surpassing the mandated timeline of 90 days. The 1350 MW project is being developed by APGENCO, a government undertaking in Andhra Pradesh’s Alluri Sitharama Raju district.
Revamped Approval Process for Pumped Storage Projects
To streamline the concurrence process for hydro PSPs, the CEA, under the Ministry of Power, has undertaken a comprehensive revamp of the approval process for Detailed Project Reports (DPRs). Notable measures include the establishment of a Single Window Clearance Cell by the CEA, the appointment of nodal officers from the Central Water Commission (CWC) to expedite design clearances, and the nomination of nodal officers from the Geological Survey of India (GSI) to accelerate geological clearances. Additionally, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has agreed to appraise Off Stream Closed Loop PSPs and has notified the appraisal of PSPs on existing reservoirs under specific conditions, significantly reducing the time required for environmental clearances.
Compressed Timelines and Revised Guidelines
The CEA has published revised guidelines for the formulation and concurrence of DPRs for PSPs, aimed at expediting the approval process. As per the revised guidelines, the concurrence timeline for certain categories of PSPs, such as those awarded under section 63 of the Electricity Act, integrated renewable energy projects, captive plants, and merchant plants, has been reduced from 90 days to 50 days. For other PSPs, the concurrence timeline has been reduced from 125 days to 90 days.
Pumped Storage Projects’ Significance for India’s Energy Future
Pumped Storage Projects play a crucial role in achieving the Indian government’s commitment to installing 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030 and attaining net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. These projects facilitate the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources with the grid, supply dispatchable renewable power, and fulfill the grid’s peaking requirements. Recognizing their importance, the government aims to commission 39 hydro PSPs, with a combined capacity of 47 GW, by 2029-30.
Currently, India has 8 operational PSPs (4.7 GW), 4 projects under construction (2.8 GW), and concurrence has been granted by the CEA for 2 additional projects (2.3 GW), which are slated to commence construction soon. Furthermore, 33 projects (42 GW) are under survey and investigation for DPR preparation, with 22 of them already receiving Terms of Reference from the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change.
The measures implemented by the government to expedite PSP approvals and facilitate renewable energy integration are expected to accelerate India’s transition to a greener and more sustainable energy future.