Centre to replace 7.7 GW thermal plants with double-efficient ones

Centre to replace 7.7 GW thermal plants with double-efficient ones

A Dec 2015 environment ministry guideline to curb pollution around coal thermal plants could result in power becoming costlier.

The Dollar Business Bureau

In order to create better efficiency, the government has identified old thermal power projects and replace them with efficient ones, resulting in the creation of 18,560 MW of energy-efficient supercritical plants. Old power plants currently total 7,738 MW, and their replacement would help save natural resources, besides doubling the generation capacity of such sites.

A senior official from the power ministry was quoted offering an example, he suggested that the 440 MW Haryana Power Generation Corporation in Panipat could be replaced with an 800 MW energy efficient plant. The official said the move towards energy efficiency and less-polluting technology makes more sense than renovation and modernisation and will yield long-term benefits.

The move trails a December 2015 guideline from the environment ministry demanding stringent rules for thermal power plants. The ministry, for the first time, mandated such norms for coal plants to follow by 2017. The norm necessitates coal-based power plants to reduce the emission of P10, Sulphur Dioxide, and Nitrous Oxide to improve air quality.

As on March 31, 2016, Coal-based thermal plants beyond 25 years age, provided 37,453 MW, according to the power ministry. And besides the central-government controlled plants, state governments have also identified 6,608 MW similarly, that leads to the creation of 16,580 MW.

Industry players averred that the technical changes could run to 1.5 Cr per MW. This number could only be higher considering the domestic capacity to manufacture power equipment for the upgrade is not more than 15 GW a year while domestic consumption demand is around 40 GW per annum for meeting the emission norms alone.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Apr 17, 2017 12:00 IST