DOU­BLING CA­PAC­ITY TO 20,000 MW GOVT TO PUMP RS 70,000 CR IN RE­PLAC­ING OLD POWER PLANTS

SET­TING UP SU­PER CRIT­I­CAL UNITS TO HELP SAVE RS 40,000 CRORE IN LAND & IN­FRA­STRUC­TURE COSTS

Resource Digest - - EXPANSION -

The Union gov­ern­ment has firmed up plans to shut down some 11,000 mw of ther­mal power gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­i­ties that are at least 25 years old and build big­ger plants with to­tal ca­pac­ity of at least 20,000 mw on the same tract of land for es­ti­mated in­vest­ments of `70,000 crore, of­fi­cials said.

The roadmap for shut­ter­ing at least 100 old units with ca­pac­i­ties rang­ing from 60 mw to 220 mw was given a pre­lim­i­nary shape at a re­cent meet­ing be­tween the Cen­tral Elec­tric­ity Author­ity (CEA) and state util­i­ties. In their place, some 30-odd su­per crit­i­cal units rang­ing be­tween 660 mw and 800 mw will come up, CEA of­fi­cials said.

This will lead to a sav­ings of about `40,000 crore on land ac­qui­si­tion as well in­fra­struc­ture cost like rail and wa­ter link­ages along with fa­cil­i­ties like ash pond and power evac­u­a­tion lines, they said. Coal sup­plied to the old plants would be fed into the units that would re­place them.

It is es­ti­mated that a to­tal ca­pac­ity of about 36,000 mw in the coun­try is more than 25 years old and th­ese units could be re­placed in phased man­ner. Some of th­ese plants are in good run­ning con­di­tion and have just un­der­gone ren­o­va­tion and main­te­nance, al­low­ing them to run for a few more years. How­ever, all such plants will have to even­tu­ally down shut­ters and be re­placed by new su­per crit­i­cal units, CEA of­fi­cials said.

They said re­place­ment of old units by new su­per crit­i­cal units was be­ing en­cour­aged by the gov­ern­ment and the min­istry of coal had al­ready is­sued guide­lines for au­to­matic trans­fer of coal link­age from old and in­ef­fi­cient units to new su­per crit­i­cal units.

“Dur­ing the 13th plan pe­riod, gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity of about 86,400 mw is likely to be added pri­mar­ily through su­per crit­i­cal units. Land be­ing scarce, util­i­ties need to ex­plore pos­si­ble op­tions to utilise the ex­ist­ing land and other fa­cil­i­ties in most ef­fec­tive man­ner,” a se­nior power depart­ment of­fi­cial said. “Ther­mal power units marked for clo­sure are pri­mar­ily ones that are far­ing very poorly in terms of ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion as well as other pa­ram­e­ters. All such plants have been marked for clo­sure by the gov­ern­ment,” the of­fi­cial said.

Ac­cord­ing to data fur­nished by CEA, re­plac­ing sub-crit­i­cal, old and in­ef­fi­cient ther­mal units with su­per crit­i­cal units would en­able ef­fec­tive util­i­sa­tion of al­ready avail­able scarce re­sources like land, wa­ter and coal.

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