Tata Power: Estimating the value of natural capital arising from a hydroelectric power plant

Tata Power is India's largest integrated power company with an installed generation capacity of more than 10,000 MW in India. By 2025, our strategic intent is to increase our renewable fuel portfolio to 30-40%.

We recognize natural capital as important for sustained growth and conducted an assessment as part of our sustainability journey. We ran a pilot study to estimate the net value of natural capital arising from a hydroelectric power plant.

We plan to conduct further studies on wind and solar sites to compare the net impact on natural capital and to ultimately inform our business decisions. The pilot focused on estimating the value of impacts and dependencies of our 90-year-old hydroelectric power generation unit with a capacity of 300 MW, situated in the northern Western Ghats in India. The site includes a reservoir, forested catchment area and a power generating station. We used a value-transfer method to make estimations for the main impact drivers. 

Natural Capital Protocol used
  • Yes
Impact drivers assessed
  • Fresh water ecosystem use e.g. wetlands, ponds, rivers
  • Terrestrial ecosystem use e.g. area of agriculture by type, area of forest plantation by type
  • Water use e.g. volume of ground- or surface water consumed
Organizational Focus
  • Project
Valuation Type
  • Monetary
  • Value to business
  • Value to society
Geographical Scope
  • India
Dependencies assessed
  • Regulation of biological environment e.g. pollination, crop pest control
  • Regulation of physical environment e.g. flood attenuation, water quality regulation
  • Water e.g. fresh or sea water
Value Chain Boundary
  • Direct operations
Sectors
  • Utilities and Power

Key findings

The study clarified our main impacts and dependencies such as land, water and forests. We learned how the right mix of management measures can be beneficial for business and the surrounding ecosystems.

Restoration of degraded forests in the catchment area over the past 30 years has helped to reliably supply water for business and provide a wealth of ecosystem services. The study confirmed the value of the ecosystem services provided by this forest. As we used the value transfer method, we continue to conduct primary surveys to validate some of the findings.

To better represent the true value of biodiversity, further examinations and studies are needed to enhance our insights.

This project opened dialogue about natural capital management between company departments and we continue to further integrate previously unrelated functions. To inform and influence our business decision making process, we continue to obtain further insights on other impact drivers. For example, we are currently exploring ways to address the impact of built-up areas in our project site. 

More information

https://www.tatapower.com/pdf/investor-relations/97Annual-Report-2015-16.pdf

Mr. Vivek Talwar (vivektalwar@tatapower.com) Chief Sustainability Officer, Tata Power Company Limited