NTPC poised to set up power plants in TS
As per Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014, NTPC has been mandated to set up 4000MW coal-fired thermal power plant for Telangana State. As a part of that, NTPC proposed 2x800 MW as Telangana Phase-I in Ramagundam to be located within the MGR bulb of NTPC Ramagundam Super Thermal Power Station.
The major portion of the power generated from the project is envisaged to be allocated to Telangana State. Minor hurdles in the way need to be cleared to make the plant operational. The NTPC is awaiting environmental clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for its first phase of two 800 MW of power plants to be set up at its existing facility in Ramagundam.
The Centre has already allocated Mandakini coal mine in Odisha as fuel linkage for producing the entire output of 4000 MW. The existing facility at Ramagundam can in fact house the plants for producing the entire 4000 MW also, says a senior official of NTPC. But, the State government has to provide at least 700 acres of land for setting up ash pond. The other alternative is to utilise the mine void, (a mine where coal excavation is complete).
The Singareni collieries is reportedly agreed to provide an abandoned mine to NTPC for the ash pond. The NTPC Regional Executive Director for south, R Venkateshwaran told The Hans India that environmental clearance for the first phase is expected anytime and the tenders are also ready it. The moment the clearance is obtained from MOEF, the NTPC would seek the approval of its board for its investment and execution of the works would commence.
The second phase of three 800 MW power plant can be commissioned after obtaining MOEF clearance for the same and the facility for ash pond is ready. The development of Mandakini mine for supplying coal to NTPC in Telangana would at least take four to five years. Meanwhile, the Central government has also given tapering coal linkage till the NTPC produces its own coal at Mandakini fields.
The coal linkage was pending for long time despite Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao writing as many as four letters. But, the coal linkage was only cleared after the NTPC projects in Telangana were included in Prime Minister’s Pragati scheme, an initiative launched by Modi to clear the pending projects called pro-active governance and timely implementation or Pragati.
The Mandakini fields are about 1600 km from Ramagundam. But, the cost of production will not be high as the Singareni coal presently supplied to existing units in Ramagundam is costly. The Singareni coal is costlier due to greater cost of stripping off over burden (the mud to be removed to get coal). The variable cost (cost of coal) in the present NTPC facility is Rs. 2.30 per unit as the Singareni coal is costlier where as the variable cost of Mandakini coal would be only Rs. 1.30 per unit.
The cost of transporting coal would be another one rupee per unit. In fact, if the power is produced at pit head point in Mandakini and transmitted to Telangana, the cost of production of power would be cheaper by at least 50 to 60 paise per unit. But, there are many hurdles to such a proposal.
First, the language of the State Reorganisation Act says that the power plants be set up in Telangana itself. The Odisha government is already furious over NTPC Talcher unit which supplies most of the power produced to south India as Odisha gets only 200 out of 2000 MW. Therefore, the Odisha government is unlikely to agree to setting up plant there to supply power solely to Telangana. Even if Odisha government agrees, there are problems with transmission as lines are congested.
Telangana Phase-I adopts state-of-the-art Super Critical Technology for Steam Generators, having steam parameters of 603 deg C and 281 kg/sq.cm with high efficiency. This results in huge reduction in coal consumption leading to less pollution of ambient air. The project also envisages GIS, a compact switchyard system which needs less space compared to conventional switchyard, resulting in less requirement of land for the project.
However, says Raghu, an expert in power sector, the Telangana state will not enjoy this power before 2019 as the commissioning and production of power in the NTPC first phase will take at least four years as per the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) estimates also.