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Thermax, Geosyndicate May Bid for North India Geothermal Plant

According to report, Thermax Ltd. (TMX), a maker of electricity generation equipment, and Geosyndicate Power Pvt. may bid separately to build a five-megawatt geothermal project in north India, a government official said.

The two companies attended a meeting of potential investors in the city of Jammu last week, Farooq Ahangar, assistant general manager at Jammu & Kashmir State Power Development Corp., the government-run agency overseeing the auction, said by telephone today. Bids are due by March 20 and the deadline may be extended to the first week of April because the companies have sought more time, he said.

The project in the Pugah valley would be one of India’s first aimed at producing electricity from underground heat, a renewable technology that’s valued for its potential to generate around the clock unlike wind and solar power. Geosyndicate, a Mumbai-based developer, estimates India has the resources to produce as much as 150,000 megawatts of geothermal power, roughly equal to 80 percent of India’s total current installed power capacity.

Geosyndicate Chairman D. Chandrasekharam wasn’t available for comment when phoned at his office in Mumbai. Thermax didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail requesting confirmation of the bid plans.

The winner of the auction will be awarded rights to build and operate the plant for 18 years, including three years for construction, and also drill at least two wells of 2,000 meters (1,243 miles) in depth to help assess the area’s geothermal potential, according to a bid document from the agency.

Geosyndicate is working on a 25-megawatt plant in Andhra Pradesh and a 60-megawatt project in Ladakh, according to its website. Thermax, a Pune-based power equipment maker, is partnering Iceland-based Reykjavik Geothermal to explore for geothermal resources in the Ratnagiri region in western Maharashtra state.

Tata Power Co. (TPWR), India’s largest non-state utility, has invested in two geothermal projects in Australia and Indonesia with Sydney-based Origin Energy Ltd. (ORG)

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