The SSP is expected to generate a large amount of peaking power (i.e. power provided for a few hours every day to meet peak demand). This will be generated by a combination of direct generation and pumpback generation from the Garudeshwar weir. The weir stores water downstream of the dam, and this water is then pumped back up the dam, after which the water is again sent down the dam (through the turbines) to generate power. Pumping water up the dam consumes more energy than is generated by the same amount of water flowing "down" the dam. So, pumpback generation ends up consuming more energy than it produces! The only reason pumpback generation is done is to provide energy during peak hours even though it means the consumption of a larger amount of energy during non-peak hours. In the final phase of the project, as water gets diverted for irrigation, most of the peaking power will be produced by pumpback generation rather than directly. Thus, the peaking power "generated" by the SSP will actually end up consuming more power than it can generate!
Even the highest firm power production of 439 MW, as well as peaking power production by the SSP is open to question. it must be kept in mind that production of electricity by SSP in the early stages of the project contributes substantially to the net present benefits of the project, as evident from the cost- benefit calculations (TEC 1981). However, the graduated release of water from the Narmada Sagar Project upstream is essential for this power generation to occur to the extent planned. This is because most of the flow would occur in monsoon months, and the SSP, its reservoir and turbine intake tunnels quickly filled to capacity, would let the water spill over to go to the sea. During the rest of the year the flow is much lower, and the amount of power generated would not be able to reach 439 MW. In the absence of the NSP, the power generated at SSP in the highest stage will drop by 28% (SSNNL 1989:226). The World Bank estimated power releases would be reduced by 50% if the Narmada Sagar project was delayed. Furthermore, losses of firm power in the "no NSP" scenario would be substantially higher than loss of total power (WB 1985B: 117).
It is becoming increasingly clear that the SSP will actually consume more energy in Gujarat than will ever be produced for Gujarat by the dam. Power from the SSP is to be divided amongst Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat in the ratio 51:33:16. Gujarat's share of the highest firm power production is 70.4 MW (16% of 439 MW), which will only be obtained in the