With the Himalayas on its northern border, India will rely increasingly on hydro power to plug its energy gap. Building these plants now is the main business line of Jaypee Group, one of Indias largest contractors.
Of the 50,000 MW of hydro the government says it wants in the next 10 years, "the group alone could do 5,000 MW," claims R.L. Gupta, a director of the groups design division, Jaypee Ventures Ltd. "No company in India is capable of doing [hydro] EPC or BOT except Jaypee," he claims.
New Delhi-based Jaypee is close to securing the first two build-operate-transfer projects in the next wave of development. It has signed a memorandum of understanding for plants of 1,600 MW and 500 MW in Uttaranchal state.
The group began commissioning its first BOT plant, the $350-million Baspa-II plant in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, in early 2003. At an altitude of 2,520 m, it was Indias highest big project and built in difficult terrain above the snow line.
Jaypee now is in early stages of its biggest BOT contract, for the 1,000-MW Karcham-Wangtoo plant in Himachal Pradesh. Awarded by the Central Electricity Authority in March 2003, the $1.3-billion project will include a 17.2-kilometer-long concrete gravity dam up to 98 m high.
With sales of about $660 million, 33-year-old Jaypee has various construction interests, all dominated by hydro. It is building or recently completed 13 projects in India and Bhutan amounting to nearly 12,300 MW.