NTPC’s 520 MW Hydropower Project Damaged in Glacier Burst and Floods

Rishiganga small hydro project of 13.2 MW washed away

February 8, 2021


A glacial lake burst led to a rise in water levels in the river Rishiganga in Uttarakhand, damaging part of NTPC’s 520 MW Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project which was under construction and washing away the Rishiganga small hydro project of 13.2 MW.

In a BSE filing, NTPC said, considering the total size of its operations (present standalone commercial capacity 51,310 MW and group commercial capacity 63,925 MW), the impact of the event on the company as a whole may not be considered material in terms of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Regulations.

The Union Power Minister, R.K.Singh, said that NTPC’s hydropower project is a run of river project with a capacity of 4X130 MW. The project is still under construction and all the units are slated to be commissioned in 2022-23.

The flash floods resulting from the glacial lake burst on February 7, 2021, have claimed 15 lives while up to 150 are reported missing.

The Power Minister said that since the disaster took place on a Sunday, the number of those working on the NTPC project was less.

An expert committee had in 2014 said that hydropower projects in the hill state of Uttarakhand were vulnerable to natural disasters. A year before, a cloudburst and massive flooding had led to the loss of 5,000 lives in the state. In the same year, the Supreme Court ordered that no new hydropower projects be set up in the state.

In July 2019, the onslaught of monsoon and severe weather had caused significant damage to a 250 MW solar PV project in Madhya Pradesh.

Meanwhile, according to a preliminary flood risk analysis, the development of efficient drainage, and systems for channelizing excess water outside project boundaries are essential in preventing large-scale damage to solar installations during a flood, consultancy firm Sgurr Energy said in a 2020 white paper.