Saturday, October 31, 2020

Table of Contents for Project Focus

Interview-AK Tyagi (UREDA)

Utilisation of run-off river technology makes our project completely eco-friendly


Functioning under the administrative control of the Department of Renewable Energy, the Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency is a frontrunner in promoting and establishing renewable power projects. Latest in its list of successful projects is the 200 KW micro hydro project planned at Kedarnath, Uttarakhand. AK TYAGI, CHIEF PROJECT OFFICER, UREDA, responded to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES’ queries on the project’s unique features and its current status of development.


Give us an understanding of the genesis of Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA) and its contributions to promoting renewable energy resources?
The State of Uttarakhand since its existence is trying to harp on non-conventional and renewable energy sources in order to achieve sustainability in the energy sector. The government with an aim to explore and effectively utilise the potential of naturally available energy resources founded the Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA). The state’s nodal agency set up under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) UREDA functions for the deployment of renewable power sources. UREDA over the years has effectively demonstrated through its operations effective ways in using renewable energy by identifying and deploying most appropriate, scalable and optimal solutions for providing power to thousands of remote hilly villages and hamlets. Since its inception, UREDA is actively involved in the commissioning of numerous micro hydro projects and in powering remote villages and regions located at off-grid areas in Uttarakhand. The body has even played a critical role in connecting remote locations where the national or state grid has not yet extended its reach.
Till date, we have deployed renewable energy projects to a cumulative capacity of 172 MW. Of this total number of projects, around 84 MW comes from grid connected RE projects and remaining 88 MW from off-grid RE projects. Apart from its non-conventional projects, UREDA designs and implements its own programmes which are specially suited for the state of Uttarakhand, and in many ways, has evolved systems, which are now accepted under the national programme. MHPs are being constructed with the financial support from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.


Briefly tell us of the importance and unique features of the Kedarnath Hydro Power Project?
Located at Uttarakhand, the Kedarnath Shrine is one of the important places of national religious importance in India. The region owing to its cultural importance receives a healthy inflow of pilgrims and tourists. UREDA has lent a hand to supplement the requirements for green and clean energy in the Kedarnath shrine.  UREDA has proposed to install a 200 KW capacity of micro hydro project (MHP) to power the Kedarnath Shrine and Mandir Samiti.  Our new hydro power project is 100 per cent eco-friendly and has the ability to reduce considerably the expenses on transmission and distribution activities.

Please share with us details of the financial cost and timelines for project implementation?
The project is being implemented with the financial support from the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India. The project cost is estimated at about `134 lakh. UREDA will act as the nodal agency for the implementation of project. Civil works of the proposed MHP will be executed with the complete co-operation from the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM). Tenders will be invited for the supply and installation of E&M works through competitive bidding process. UREDA has already initiated the project and expects to fully commission it by July 2016.


Could you tell us about the best practices, building materials and unique construction technologies to be utilised in the project’s execution?
The proposed hydro power project will be implemented by strictly adhering to environmental norms. The project is based on the run-off river technology which is totally eco-friendly in nature. Moreover, we have also focused on utilising most sustainable building materials in the construction process. The materials will be selected only as per the recommendation from the R&H Expert Committee. UREDA, like its previous projects, will strictly adhere to quality norms and construction practices while implementing the project.


What are the green elements planned to be incorporated in the construction of the project?
UREDA has always been at the forefront of developing environment friendly projects and in potentially utilising renewable energy resources. Walking on similar lines is our new 200 KW hydro power project. A critical element in the project implementation is the utilisation of run-off river technology, making it completely eco-friendly in nature. On completion, the MHP can contribute to reduction of losses incurred in transmission and distribution activities and increase the voltage at the load end. Apart from powering the Kedarnath Shrine and the Mandir Samiti, the project also aims to meet the energy requirements of the nearby hotels and thereby benefit the pilgrims visiting the region. The project will play a vital role in connected the tail end regions, especially the ones which are not connected to the national or state grid electricity networks. The project will also scale up the region’s employment opportunities.


How can the project meet power concerns of the region?
The proposed micro hydro project will primarily provide power to the Kedarnath Shrine and Mandir Samiti. This is a first of its kind initiative dedicated to provide power to the Shri Kedarnath shrine and the balance power, if any, shall be sold to Uttarakhand Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL), a discom of Uttarakhand. Apart from the shrine and the Kedarnath region, the project will play a critical role in sourcing power to the energy-starved regions.


As a project executioner, tell us of the critical challenges faced and the strategies planned to overcome such concerns?
Location of the project in a hill bound region is one of the critical challenges faced in the process of project execution. Moreover, the project construction is limited to only six months, i.e. from May to October. Executing a project of such vital importance in a limited timeline without compromising on the quality standards is a critical task. Transporting building materials and equipment to the hilly site location is the other hurdle. We have hence identified Nehru Institute of Mountaineering as a partner in the process of project execution. NIM has a prior experience in delivering its expertise in similar projects located at hilly terrain, which will benefit positively for us. Moreover, we have involved local people for the transportation and construction activities. The familiarity of the people with the local environment and geographical conditions will result in improved performance and better planning. To make the project financially viable, locally available materials like rocks and stone are used in the construction process. This also helps to bring down the time and cost involved in the transportation of raw materials.


Could you name a few of your partners who are supporting you in the execution of the project?
The project is to be implemented by developers, who will be selected strictly through a transparent tendering process. To speed up the project installation, we have invited tenders for varied works like E&M, T&D and civil construction activities. NIM will be assisting us in the process of execution, especially in sourcing labour and machineries required for the project construction. We have also involved the Alternate Hydro Energy Centre and Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee for providing technical services like the preparation of detailed project reports (DPR), selection of apt technologies, site inspection works etc.


Could you name a few of your other similar hydro projects being set up in regions of cultural importance?
Badrinath Shrine, Kedarnath Shrine, Yamunotri Shrine and Gangotri Shrine are the religious places of national importance frequented by large number of pilgrims. UREDA has installed renewable energy systems and devices at these places so as to illuminate these religious locations as also to supplement the energy requirement by way of providing green and clean energy. The Yamunotri Shrine is being powered by 2X100 capacity of micro hydro project of UREDA installed at Janki chatti. Our other project, a 3X50 KW micro hydro project is powering the Gangotri Shrine and a 1X20 KW is now under renovation. Apart from these, UREDA has developed a DSM programme to reduce the peak electricity demand and has installed LED lights for domestic and street lighting. Requirement of electricity in Ghaghari and Hemkund Sahib is being met through microhydel scheme. UREDA has also installed a 2X50 KW capacity micro hydro project at Gangriya.

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