NTPC regulates load in the east as southern states buy more green power

NTPC Limited
NTPC Ltd, the country's largest power producer has opted for a strategic reduction in load at its coal-fired thermal power stations especially those located in the eastern region.

A bulk of the power generated at these NTPC stations is exported to power starved southern states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. But with these states sourcing more renewable power during day time when there is surplus solar and wind generation, NTPC is operating at a lesser load.

"Green power is plentiful during day time, which is why the southern states are buying it. We are going for planned reduction in load at our thermal power plants. But, we are closely watching the demand-supply scene. Power supply from renewable sources is erratic as it depends on weather conditions. At NTPC, we can ensure a continuous supply of power. That apart, we are the most cost efficient power generation company and this explains the consistently high plant load factor (PLF) at our units”, said an NTPC source.

NTPC Kaniha with an installed capacity of 3,010 Mw (10 Mw solar capacity), is one of the select power stations going for load regulation. This super thermal power station, one of the largest in the country, has been consistently operating at a PLF in excess of 90 per cent over the years. Presently, this  power unit is operating at 85-86 per cent PLF.

NTPC’s average PLF across all its plants has fallen from the peak level of 92 per cent in 2007-08 to 78.5 per cent at the end of 2015-16. But, NTPC's load has been higher the industry average of  60 per cent.

Most of the NTPC owned coal-fired stations are operating at higher PLF (Plant Load Factor) compared to generators in the private sector. NTPC is lessening load at the coal-based plants at a time when the demand for conventional thermal power is diminishing and the chorus for adoption of emerging green energy sources like solar power gets louder.

In the list of the top 10 performing thermal power stations, six NTPC operated plants figure. Two of the NTPC owned power plants in Odisha- Talcher Thermal Power Station and the 3,010 Mw super thermal power station at Kaniha have been consistently maintaining PLF in excess of 90 per cent.

A report by Care Ratings on the power sector released in 2017 says PLF of thermal power plants has dipped from 77.5 per cent in 2009-10 to 59.88 per cent in 2016-17. 

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