The project is considered a vital prospect to build up critical storage capacity for energy in the industrial region. This , even as share of renewable energy goes up will help ensure grid stability and power at all times.
The 1500MW /11017 MWh Bhavali Pumped Storage facility at Igatpuri in Maharashtra is now back on the anvil with the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment granting the project terms of reference that will, in turn, pave the way for the JSW Neo Energy, project planner, to carry out an environmental impact assessment and gauge its ecological footprint. Since the project is “critically site-specific” a particular topography is required with nearby water availability.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Industries Ministry of Maharashtra and JSW Neo Energy on September 14, 2021, after the initial site had been proposed by the state government and considered by the Union Environment Ministry’s expert appraisal committee for terms of reference (ToR) in December last year. The project cost has been estimated at Rs 5723 crores.
An official with JSW Neo Energy has been quoted by a report as saying, “The ministry had sought further details on the ecological aspects of the project, which we submitted. We will conduct an EIA assessment as per the ToR, which includes carrying out a detailed study of the project’s impact on water and land ecology in the project area, which will be classified into high and low impact zones.”
Located at Jamunde village, about 50kms away from Nashik district headquarters, Igatpuri is easily approachable from Mumbai using National Highway-160 via Shahapur. Estimated to cost ₹5,723 crore, the project once commissioned, will be a cash cow adding ₹1,325 crore per year to the coffers of the state government.
There will be two water reservoirs at different elevations to force a turbine in between to generate power as water flows over. It will be pumped back from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir. There is a Bhavali dam in Igatpuri for supply of water for the project.
The state forest department received a proposal from JSW Energy PSP, a wholly-owned subsidiary of JSW Neo Energy, to divert 212 hectares of land for the project. As per a cost-benefit analysis, the net present value (NPV) of the land has been calculated at about Rs 24.5 crore. The forest land proposed for diversion lies within the revenue boundaries of Jamunde village, Nashik (62.42 hectares), and Kalbondhe and Kothale villages, Thane (150.23 hectares). The total number of trees to be cut for the project will be determined during the EIA study.