Tata Power and the Golden Mahseer


Tata Power is India’s largest integrated power company with a significant international presence. The company has an installed generation capacity of 8,521 MW in India and a presence in all the segments of the power sector i.e. generation (thermal, hydro, solar and wind), transmission, distribution and trading. It is one of the largest renewable energy players in India and commissioned country’s first 4,000 MW Ultra Mega Power Project at Mundra (Gujarat) based on super-critical technology.

Tata Power’s international presence includes strategic investments in Indonesia through 30% stake in coal mines and a geothermal project; in Singapore through Trust Energy Resources to securitize coal supply and the shipping of coal for its thermal power generation operations; in South Africa through a joint venture with Cennergi to develop projects in Africa; in Australia through investments in enhanced geothermal and clean coal technologies and in Bhutan through a hydro project in partnership with The Royal Government of Bhutan.

Excerpts of conversation with SustainabilityNext:

What are Tata Power’s unique sustainability policies?
Tata Power is poised for a multi-fold growth and committed to its motto ‘Lighting up Lives Sustainably’ for generations to come. Our Sustainability policy only integrates the Triple Bottom Line of the company but also advocates how stakeholder engagement is important for a holistically achieving the Sustainability agenda.

Details of how Tata Power has implemented its sustainability strategy
Sustainability has been strategically integrated in all business operations and decision-making processes and workforce is sensitized and aligned to the cause. It integrates economic progress, social responsibility and environmental concerns with an objective of improving quality of life.

What are the sustainability challenges specific to a power generation company?
The power sector is facing several challenges. A key issue is fuel shortage. Despite the huge domestic coal reserves, the power sector is facing shortages and has resorted to coal imports to meet its requirements. Tata Power has conducted identification of Sustainability issues/ Material Issues for business continuity and these are in sync with business strategy and capable to make a major difference to an organization’s performance.

What is the sustainability challenges facing the power sector in India?
The power sector has gone through a lot of turbulence in the past few years. There were clear indications of the sector struggling due a number of factors like fuel supply shortages, an unprecedented hike in coal prices in international markets and the poor financial health of the power sector in India. Despite grappling with challenges, the level of determination exhibited by the private sector to contribute to the growth of the power sector is highly commendable. The private sector has added around 15,000–20,000 MW of new capacity in 2012.

India is yet to achieve greater energy independence and security of energy infrastructure. This will be more important in future with growing transition of transportation fleet away from oil toward other energy sources, including electricity. Enhancing the reliability and resilience of the electricity grid to withstand major equipment outages, weather effects, and potential terrorist attacks is also gaining attention.

Ability to secure energy and deliver power reliably depends upon a mix of regulatory, economic, environmental and social factors. In the absence of any other promising fuel apart from coal, the India’s generation capacity is expected to remain roughly the same in coming years resulting in increased dependence on coal-based power. It would, therefore, be important to make the right choices in selection of technologies that would enable the plants to operate in energy efficient and environment friendly manner. The political scenario in India is also critical and experiencing the inefficient allocation of coal blocks to public and private companies.

What have been Tata Power’s achievements so far?
Mahseer Conservation- As part of an eco-restoration and eco-development project for the lakes, farming of mahseers and the Indian trout was undertaken in the 1970s by Tata Power. The world famous Golden Mahseer was one of the four Mahseer species that were bred. Tata Power accomplished quite remarkable in conservation with this endeavour and continue to be recognized for this achievement. In the years since Tata Power started breeding the Mahseer, simple breeding and hatchery technology has been developed on a large scale basis. The company has till date produced in excess of 10 million seed of Mahseer and distributed them all over India. It is the only breeding centre till date which breeds and supplies fingerlings to various states in India — Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Assam.

Club Enerji – Tata Power also strives to reduce the indirect energy consumption through spreading awareness on energy conservation through its remarkable initiative Club Enerji. In line with its philosophy to curb wastage of energy and spread awareness about energy conservation, Club Enerji, Tata Power’s nationwide energy and resource conservation movement spearheaded by school children, has gained momentum across the nation. In the year 2012-13, Tata Power Club Enerji sensitised around a million citizens and saved more than 1,456,850 million units of energy in the city of Mumbai alone, which can light up 682 houses. The units saved by the Club are equivalent to saving around 1457 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Tata Power’s nationwide movement propagating energy and resource conservation had its enthusiastic members pledge continuing commitment to the cause they have embarked upon.

What are your future plans?
As per Tata Power’s growth plans it is in the process of developing one of its largest photovoltaic based solar power plants with an installed capacity of 28.8 MW in the Satara district of Maharashtra. Tata Power has aggressive plans of generating 26,000 MW of power by 2020, and intends to have a 20-25% contribution through a mix of clean energy sources that would include hydro, solar, wind, geo-thermal, and waste-gas generation. The company has a dedicated team that looks for opportunities in renewable energy projects and clean technology development. Presently, Tata Power has an installed capacity of 1,106 MW from clean energy sources. Also, Tata Power intends to increase its footprint in new geographies and developing economies like Africa, West Asia- Turkey, SAARC region and South East Asia.

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