NTPC cagey on Kaniha plant expansion

NTPC (Photo: Wikipedia)
Country’s largest thermal power generator NTPC is supposedly dragging its feet on the proposed expansion of its 3000 Mw super thermal power station at Kaniha, some 180 km from Bhubaneshwar.

NTPC had earlier announced ramping up of capacity at the Kaniha station by 1600 Mw through the addition of two supercritical units of 800 Mw each. But, diminishing demand for conventional power with the gaining appeal of renewable power, lack of visible coal sources and paucity of long-term power purchase agreements (PPA) has visibly pressed the brakes on the expansion plan.

“The feasibility report for expanding capacity of the Kaniha thermal power station is in progress. Though we have the land needed for expansion, we are yet to get any direction from our corporate centre to go ahead with the expansion. The expansion will also depend on other factors- all thermal plants are not going on schedule despite the availability of 50 per cent of reserve coal. Besides this, NTPC alone has 19,000 Mw projects under construction”, said Debasis Sarkar, group general manager, NTPC Ltd.

Typically, any thermal power plant needs Rs 4.5-5 crore investment on every Mw capacity created.  However, Kaniha being a brownfield expansion will cost us lesser, he said. Odisha is the biggest beneficiary of NTPC’s super thermal power station at Kaniha with a share of 523.44 Mw of the total capacity of 3000 Mw. Rest of the power is shipped mostly to southern states.

Thermal power apart, NTPC has installed a 10 Mw solar power plant spread across 45 acres at Kaniha. NTPC has invested Rs 65 crore on this solar plant excluding the cost of land acquisition. The maharatna power utility has a PPA with Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) for sale of solar power at the rate of Rs 9.35 per unit.

On the greenfield route, NTPC is partnering National Aluminium Company (Nalco) set up a coal-based power project of 2400 Mw capacity in Odisha's Gajamara in Dhenkanal district at a cost of Rs 14,000 crore. Both the central PSUs have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect. A joint venture company will be forged to develop this proposed coal-based plant which will feed power to Nalco’s new aluminium smelter to come up at Kamakhayanagar in the vicinity of the power project site.

The power purchase agreement (PPA) for the power project is expected to be firmed up by the end of this fiscal. Coal from the mines allocated to Nalco would be linked to the JV project at Gajmara. The aluminium smelter projects and the power project will act as a catalyst for industrial growth in the region creating avenues of tangible and intangible benefits for the people of the state and generate direct and indirect employment for engineers, supervisors, skilled, semi-skilled and un-skilled workers.

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