The Council on Ethics recommends that NHPC Ltd be excluded from investment by the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) due to an unacceptable risk that the company is responsible for or contributes to severe environmental damage.
NHPC develops, owns and operates hydropower projects, including the Lower Subansiri Hydropower Project in India that is under construction. This is a large dam project that at completion will be the largest hydropower scheme in India, with an installed capacity of 2,000 MW.
The project will inundate more than 30 km2 that mainly consist of forest areas in a very biodiversity-rich area (global biodiversity hotspot), where species new to science have recently been found in forests to the west of the project. Threatened species in the project area that are not found elsewhere (endemic) will be adversely affected by the project.
The project is planned for hydro-peaking operations that will result in very high river flow variations downstream of the dam. This will result in destructive environmental impacts, including for the endangered Ganges River Dolphin, and also represents a safety hazard for people along the river.
The company has not replied to the Council on Ethics’ questions.
The Council on Ethics submitted its recommendation on 24 February 2022. Norges Bank published its decision to exclude the company on 7 September 2022.