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Russia's Power Machines launches first unit of India power plant

NEW DELHI, September 8 (RIA Novosti) - Power Machines (Silovye Mashiny) [RTS: SILM] launched Friday the first unit of India's largest hydroelectric power plant in the north of the country, a regional representative of the company said.

Russia's leading heavy machinery manufacturer commissioned the first out of four units of the controversial Tehri Hydro Power Plant, which is part of the ambitious Tehri Hydro Power Complex. It is located 200 miles northeast of Delhi and has a capacity of 2,400 MW. It comprises the 1,000 MW Tehri Dam and Hydro Power Plant, the 1,000 MW Tehri Pump Storage Plant and the 400 MW Koteshwar Dam and Power Plant.

Andrei Mironov, the director of Silovye Mashiny branch in India, said the project was the largest in Asia, with the 260 meter (855 feet) high Tehri Dam located on the Bhagirathi River. He added that the first unit would be able to produce 250 MW.

The project emerged in 1972 and construction started in 1978. Although it was shelved in mid-1980s after protests from local villagers and environmentalists, work soon resumed. In 1986 India and the Soviet Union signed an agreement under which Russian experts would assist the project and the Soviet Union also provided about $416 million in aid to the construction. In 1998 the project was handed over to Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC).

The official ceremony for the first unit's opening is scheduled for September 23 and is expected to be attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi.

Power Machines produces equipment for hydro, thermal, gas and nuclear power plants, and the transportation industry. The company has clients in 87 countries. Its revenues totaled almost $600 million in 2005, including $7.1 million in net profit.

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