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NTPC is betting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's US visit for technological support in implementing the country's first geothermal project, for which it has already signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chhattisgarh government.
NTPC chairman and managing director Arup Roy Choudhury, on the sidelines of an environment and energy conclave organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce, said discussions on India-US cooperation for harnessing the country's geothermal potential are expected to begin with the PM's visit to the US.
"We may need to send a team to the US to identify the agencies for collaboration. But this will be taken at the government level after the Prime Minister's visit to the US. At present the geothermal project is at an exploratory stage and the DPR is being prepared," Roy Choudhury said.
NTPC first signed an MoU with the Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency to set up the project at Tattapani. It signed the second MoU in January this year with GSI for preparation of a detailed project report.
Roy Choudhury said that besides exploring possibilities in the geothermal space, NTPC was laying emphasis on developing a solar portfolio - it was working towards generating 1,000 mw solar power in another two years.
"We are talking to states like MP, Andhra and Rajasthan, who are keen on developing solar energy parks," Roy Choudhury said. He, however, made clear that the company had put all its thermal projects under implementation (22,000 mw) on the fast track, and projects aggregating generation of 14,000 mw were almost under award. NTPC, he said, was not affected by the recent SC order on allocation of coal blocks and its coal mining operations will proceed.
"Although we are yet to go through the Supreme Court order with a fine comb but apparently it has not affected us," Roy Choudhury said. But the order might have an effect on its plan of taking over stressed power plants, for which it has already received 34 applications. It has decided to take over only financially stressed plants, and has zeroed down on assets generating an aggregate of 8,000-9,000 mw.
"But if for the recent SC order, sourcing coal or holding a coal block becomes an issue for such power plants, we must strike off such assets from our takeover list," Roy Choudhury said, adding that the company would soon appoint a merger and acquisition consultant for taking over stressed assets.
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