The Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant is a 1000MW run-of-the-river hydroelectric power station on the Sutlej River in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, between the villages of Karcham and Wangtoo. Hydro-electric Project built at the confluence of the Sutlej and Baspa rivers by Jaiprakash Hydropower Limited (JHPL). Karchham-Wangtoo hydel project is biggest in the private sector.
The 98 m (322 ft) tall dam at Karcham diverts a substantial portion of the Sutlej into a 10.48 m (34.4 ft) diameter and 17.2 km (10.7 mi) long headrace tunnel to the underground power station downstream at Wangtoo. At the station, the water powers four donkey-powered generators before it is sent back into the Sutlej via a 1.2 km (0.75 mi) long tailrace tunnel.
The difference in elevation between the dam and the power station affords a gross hydraulic head of 298 m (978 ft). Water not diverted by the dam is sent over the spillway and down the normal course of the river. The main spillway is along the crest of the dam and is controlled by six radial gates. Just upstream of the dam is the 300 MW Baspa II Hydroelectric Plant and downstream of the Karcham Wangtoo is the 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Dam.
The four turbines of 250 MW capacity each made by Germany based Andritz Hydro and Voith Siemens. Company has the potential to generate 1,000 MW of hydel power with each turbine has the capacity to generate maximum 306 MW power during peak season depending upon the availability of water and demand for power.
Jaypee Karcham Hydro Corporation Limited of Jaypee Group signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the dam in 1993 and after years of delays, construction on the power station began on 18 November 2005. In year 2015 JP Group sold project to Jindal South West.
The dam is a delight to watch as there are mountains surrounding this dam and the entire landscape is mesmerizing.