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Transportation of coal a major hurdle in cutting down cost of power generation’ - Nashik

Coal News - Published on Tue, 19 Feb 2019

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While there is no respite on prices of coal, considering transportation cost from mines to Nashik Thermal Power Station (NTPS), extensive work on managing the cost of auxiliary inputs has helped the administration to bring down the cost of electricity generation. Umakant Nikhare, chief engineer, NTPS, Mahagenco, Nashik, was in conversation with TOI’s Abhilash Botekar. Excerpts:

Why are two power units shut down so often?

The electricity regulator Maharashtra State Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) has announced Merit Order Dispatch (MOD) policy in which all the power generation units with lowest cost of generation are given first preference to generate power and supply to the distribution company. Since the power generation cost at our facility – Nashik Thermal Power Station at Eklahara Colony – is a bit on the higher side, the plants are on Reserve Shut Down (RSD) as per MERC orders.

What benchmarks have these old plants set?

Two out of five power plants were shut down in 2011 considering expiry of their life span. Currently we have three units with capacity of generation of 210 MW of power each. Their span too was over long back. But even today, with our limited resources, we are able to produce upwards of 198 MW of power from each of the three units. We are best in power conservation, in reducing use oil usage, in power generation as per the capacity. We generated 213 MW of power from 210 MW plant only last month. In fact ours are the most efficient plants of their age and class. Credit for this goes to the hard work put in by engineers and personnel.

What are the major hurdles in meeting the MOD Tariff norms?

The major hurdle in achieving the lowest tariff is the transportation cost of coal from the mines situated very far – in Vidarbha and Chhattisgarh regions and comparison between the new and old class power generation units. Our plants were launched in 1979-81. They are of sub-critical class. Today we have generation sets of super-critical class. Definitely, technology has changed. Despite that, given some help with coal procurement, we could offer competitive rates as well.

Are there any plans for strengthening the power plants?

The cost of strengthening power plants was about Rs 600 crore for each plant – costing Rs 1,800 crore. The new critical technology 660 MW power plant would cost Rs 3,600 crore. It would therefore be better to have a new plant. The government is weighing options.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 19 Feb 2019
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