In­forms M Ra­jagopalan, Mar­ket Devel­op­ment Direc­tor, Mid­dle East, Asia and Aus­tralia, Wart­sila, in an in­ter­view with Mon­ica Chaturvedi Charna.

Power Watch India - - CONTENTS -

Coal and gas-based hy­brid so­lu­tions give right bal­anc­ing, in­forms M Ra­jagopalan, Mar­ket Devel­op­ment Direc­tor, Mid­dle East, Asia and Aus­tralia, Wart­sila.

How do you see the po­ten­tial of coal and gas­based hy­brid so­lu­tions in In­dia and what are the key chal­lenges?

The po­ten­tial is huge be­cause it is based on the premise that the solution is avail­able for dis­patch all time round, and gas-based flex­i­ble gen­er­a­tion gives that cer­tainty. Coal and gas-based hy­brid so­lu­tions give the right bal­anc­ing which is needed with other gen­er­a­tion sources like hy­dro, wind and so­lar.

Cur­rently, in­ter­na­tional gas prices are low and the govt is plan­ning to im­port nearly 60-70 mm­scmd ca­pac­ity to re­vive stalled projects. But this is not a con­sis­tent trend and In­dia has not been able to gen­er­ate the tar­geted ca­pac­ity of gas. What needs to be done to make the sec­tor more sta­ble?

Given the fact that gas prices are un­cer­tain and can fluc­tu­ate in fu­ture, I would sug­gest that we don’t use it for base load ap­pli­ca­tion or de­pend on com­bined cy­cle gas tur­bines. It won’t make sense be­cause there is coal to pro­vide base load power. In­stead, we should use gas-based gen­er­a­tion flex­i­bly only when there is a need. While gas-based gen­er­a­tion is ex­pen­sive, it al­lows coal-based plants to run more ef­fi­ciently, giving a cost ad­van­tage. For in­stance, in­stead of hav­ing a 100 MW coal-based plant run­ning at 60% PLF, it would make sense to cut it down to 80 MW and run it at 80% PLF, pro­duc­ing the same num­ber of units. The bal­ance 20 MW can be topped through gas based gen­er­a­tion. It is not fair to dis­miss gas-based gen­er­a­tion as be­ing ex­pen­sive pri­mar­ily be­cause it can achieve a very good bal­ance when there are power out­ages. It will be at least bet­ter than diesel-based gen­er­a­tion, where peo­ple are spend­ing as much as Rs 25/ unit. We are try­ing to change the legacy sys­tem which states that coal is the cheap­est and the best solution. For­tu­nately, the tech­ni­cal com­mit­tee formed by the Min­istry of Power to deal with re­new­able en­ergy (RE) in­te­gra­tion has also con­sid­ered th­ese points and has stated

that flex­i­ble gen­er­a­tion and re­serve ca­pac­ity is a must. Wart­sila’s so­lu­tions fit very well in both th­ese cat­e­gories. Op­ti­mis­ing the en­ergy mix in the right man­ner is the need of the hour.

The last 3-4 years saw gas prices shoot­ing up be­cause of which nu­mer­ous projects were stalled. How did you cope with that sce­nario?

High gas price was surely a de­ter­rent, spe­cially for base load gen­er­a­tion. Nearly 20,000 MW of gas based ca­pac­ity was ren­dered stranded. This is the rea­son why Wart­sila repo­si­tioned it­self as we felt that the so­lar wind hy­brid solution is per­fect for peak­ing power and for RE bal­anc­ing. Even the cur­rent gov­ern­ment is very sup­port­ive of this solution and is draft­ing rel­e­vant poli­cies for pro­mot­ing so­lar wind hy­brid sys­tems.

How much ca­pac­ity is Wart­sila cur­rently han­dling in the gas-based power gen­er­a­tion busi­ness in In­dia?

We cur­rently have 110 MW on the or­der book, which is be­ing ex­e­cuted. But, given the po­ten­tial, we are hop­ing to do at least 250-300 MW in a year.

Which mar­kets are the most promis­ing?

In­dia has a huge po­ten­tial, es­pe­cially in the RE space and the req­ui­site poli­cies are also in place. China is a very de­cep­tive and large mar­ket with over 100 GW of just wind en­ergy. We are look­ing for cer­tain poli­cies con­cern­ing our so­lu­tions for op­ti­mis­ing wind gen­er­a­tion there. If Saudi Ara­bia agrees to in­tro­duce the en­gine tech­nol­ogy that we have, they stand to gain atleast $4-5 bil­lion for a pe­riod of 10 years. We have a big mar­ket in In­done­sia where gas-based so­lu­tions for peak­ing power and is­land ap­pli­ca­tion are sig­nif­i­cant. Mid­dle East Asia and Aus­tralia are also fairly vi­brant mar­kets for Wart­sila.

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