Japan loans India $250m for 1GW Purulia hydro scheme

India and Japan on Friday signed a $250m loan agreement for the construction of a 1GW pumped storage hydropower project at Purulia in West Bengal.

The loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will be used by West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company to develop the project at Ayodhya hills, Purulia District.

Pumped storage schemes work by using surplus power to transport water from a lower to a higher level, thereby converting electrical into potential energy.

This project will see the construction of two dams across Turga Nala river, with tunnels transporting water between the upper and lower dams. Four reversible pump-turbine units, each with a 250MW capacity, will generate electricity and transport water from the lower to upper dams when demand is low.

The upper dam of the existing pumped storage hydropower Project (Paul Subhajit/CC BY-SA 4.0)

"The objective of the project is to improve power system flexibility and grid stability in West Bengal State and its surrounding," JICA said in its project description.

The total land required for the project is 292ha of which 234ha is forested. The government of West Bengal compensated land holders in February 2017.

The state company commissioned Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to build a similar 900MW scheme in the district that began operating in 2008.

Top image: The Ayodhya hills (Paul Subhajit/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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