India Streamlines Approval Process for Pumped Storage Projects
The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has completed the Upper Sileru Pumped Storage Project in record time.
Central Electricity Authority (CEA) accelerates concurrence for Upper Sileru Pumped Storage Project within record time.
The government has taken many steps to accelerate the commissioning of Pumped Storage Projects (PSPs) and push the growth of India’s renewable energy potential. The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has approved the Upper Sileru Pumped Storage Project (PSP) in just 70 days, exceeding the 90-day deadline.
APGENCO, a government initiative in Andhra Pradesh’s Alluri Sitharama Raju district, is developing the 1350 MW project.
Pumped Storage Project Approval Process Has Been Revised
The CEA, under the Ministry of Power, has undertaken a full reform of the approval process for Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) to speed up the concurrence process for hydro PSPs.
The CEA established a Single Window Clearance Cell, nodal officers from the Central Water Commission (CWC) were appointed to expedite design clearances, and nodal officers from the Geological Survey of India (GSI) were appointed to expedite geological clearances.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has consented to evaluate Off Stream Closed Loop PSPs and has notified the appraisal of PSPs on existing reservoirs under particular conditions, shortening the time required for environmental clearances significantly.
Compressed Timelines and Revised Guidelines
The CEA has issued amended rules for the preparation and approval of DPRs for PSPs to speed up the approval process. The concurrence timetable 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 shortened from 90 days to 50 days under the updated standards. The concurrence period for other PSPs has been shortened from 125 days to 90 days.
The Importance of Pumped Storage Projects for India’s Energy Future
Pumped Storage Projects are critical to meeting India’s aim to develop 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030 and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070. These projects make it easier to integrate intermittent renewable energy sources into the grid, provide dispatchable renewable power, and meet the grid’s peaking needs. Recognizing their significance, the government intends to build 39 hydro PSPs with a total capacity of 47 GW by 2029–2030.
India now has 8 active PSPs (4.7 GW), 4 projects under development (2.8 GW), and the CEA has approved two further projects (2.3 GW) that are scheduled to begin construction soon. In addition, 33 projects (42 GW) are being surveyed and investigated for DPR preparation, with 22 of them already getting Terms of Reference from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change.
The government’s steps to expedite PSP approvals and encourage renewable energy integration are likely to hasten India’s transformation to a greener, more sustainable energy future.