Maharashtra is planning three new hydroelectric projects in the Western Ghats to reduce peak-hour power shortages. The stations will use the ‘pump storage method’ to generate a total of 2,900 megawatts (MW) of power.The state already has one such 250MW project in Ghatghar, near Thane.
In the ‘pump storage method’, water used for the generation of electricity is stored in a lower dam and then pumped out to an upper dam for running turbines when needed. This cycle is repeated.
Confirming the development, DN Modak, chief engineer, hydro power, water resources department said that the projects will be very crucial for catering to the state’s increasing power needs. “We have completed the ground work and a detailed survey of all the sites will be commissioned soon,” said Modak. Cost estimates will be finalised after this survey.
Once construction of these plants is complete, the projects shall be handed over to the state’s power generation company for operations.
Commenting on environmental hurdles in the Western Ghats, Modak clarified that all the sites were in non-forest areas.
For all the projects, two each dams — one upstream and the other downstream — are be built. Sites in Panshet (1,400MW), Vasargaon (1,000MW) and Varandh Ghat (500MW) have been finalised for the power stations. Three dams— two in Velhe and one in Mulshi (both near Pune) will provide water to these stations. Three other downstream dams are also to be built in the Raigad district — two in Mangaon tehsil and one in Mahad.These stations will generate power during high- demand periods. During non-peak hours, water from the lower dams will be pumped to upper dams. In hydro dams such as the Koyna, the water released in the lower damn, cannot be used for any other purpose.