NTPC looks at innovative ways to increase renewable energy penetration

NTPC, the country’s largest thermal power producer, is looking at innovative ways to increase renewable energy penetration in the national grid. 

The 50 Gw power producer will set up solar plants at all its units. The capacity of each solar unit would be close to 200-500 Mw and the total target will be 10 Gw. 

These plants would be constructed near and around the existing thermal unit, preferably near the switchyard for efficient evacuation.

NTPC is hopeful of bringing down the price of solar power since part of the capital cost like land and transmission infrastructure can be shared with the thermal power capacity. A senior NTPC executive said this is in line with the company’s larger plan for flexible utilisation of all energy sources. 

“This would help optimal utilisation of all resources, including grid and land. The power supplied would be at an average rate,” he said. 

NTPC had earlier planned to back down thermal power at some of its units to blend renewable energy and sell them together. It had tendered 2 Gw of solar and wind for the purpose. 

Business Standard had earlier reported that pithead plants of NTPC will run at over 90 per cent of the plant load factor (PLF) or operating ratio and non pithead ones will act as peaking plants and can be scaled up when demand peaks over average consumption.

Executives said the rate at which power is sold to distribution companies (discoms) would remain unchanged. 

The tariff would be the same as the generating unit is currently selling power to a particular state/discom. The schedule and amount of power supply would also remain unchanged.

As tariff of solar and wind power have fallen below Rs 2.5 per unit last year, NTPC is hopeful of supplying cheaper power to its beneficiaries.

The move is also in line with a recent proposal of the Centre to introduce flexibility in generation scheduling. It provides flexibility for substituting thermal power by renewable power against the given schedule. 

This will help in growth of renewables and grid balancing, the policy envisaged.

POWER PLAY

 
| NTPC had earlier planned to back down thermal power at some of its units to blend renewable energy
| It had tendered 2 Gw of solar and wind for the purpose
| The 50 Gw power producer will set up solar plants near and around the existing thermal unit 
| It hopes to bring down the price of solar power as the capital cost of land and transmission can be shared with the thermal power capacity
| Yet the rate of power sales to distribution firms, along with the schedule and amount of power supply, would remain unchanged



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