Monday, August 30, 2010

Aging units + scanty rain = power paucity

Aging units + scanty rain = power paucity
Manu Aiyappa and Senthalir S, TNN, Aug 29, 2010, 11.29pm IST

BANGALORE: Although the situation is still far from normal, there has been a slight improvement of late. The past two months were particularly tiresome owing to sharp decline in power generation because of scanty rainfall in July and August coupled with wet coal and old machinery at the major thermal power plants.

"The situation has improved after the government initiated steps to buy 1,000 MW daily and restored some inactive units at major thermal plants," said a senior energy department official. Given the current situation, officials say the power demand in summer may be difficult to meet even if the government gets another 1,000 MW daily. According to figures of the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation ( KPTC), power supply in the state has improved in recent times __ from 108.06 million units (MU) daily on August 5 to 121.08 MU on August 21. But, it'll face a shortfall of 15-25 MU in summer when demand is set to cross the danger 140 MU mark.

Generation in the state has been so low that power purchased from private players is much higher than that generated. The inefficient thermal units and the low reservoir levels have hit both thermal and hydropower generation. On August 18, the power generated by Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) was 44.3 MU and power purchased from private players was 83.5 MU. On August 20, power generated was 57.2 MU compared to 63 MU purchased from private players.


The authorities are also in panic as water levels in major hydel reservoirs -- Linganmakki, Supa and Mane -- have already started receding due to lack of rain. "Water shortage has already compelled us to reduce generation to 4422 MU, a shortage of 1389 MU,'' sources said.

The levels of hydroelectric generation reservoirs continue to be lesser compared to the corresponding period of 10 years average level and also the previous year levels.


Reservoir ------ Present -- Last year -- 10-yr avg
Linganamakki -- 1,794.95 -- 1,809.30 -- 1,804.51
Supa -- ------- 1,772.54 -- 1,783.96 -- 1,787.25
Varahi --------- 1,918.64 -- 1,926.67 -- 1,928.14

(All units in ft)


"Karnataka is facing a power shortage because the investments that ought to have taken place in the public sector did not happen. The Centre, through the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and KPC (Karnataka Power Corporation), failed to undertake the required investments. The impact of those mistakes is being experienced ten years down the line. Having learnt that lesson, investments are now taking place in the public sector too," said former power minister K S Eshwarappa.

KPC managing director S M Jaamdar echoed his view: "The majority of RTPS units are over 25 years old and obsolete. Though they're supposed to generate 500 MW together daily, they generate only 250-300 MW. Reconstruction and renovation of such units cannot be taken up immediately as it will take a maximum of two years and the state is not in a position to lose 250-300 MW of power."


A dozen projects are in the pipeline, and most will be operational in 3-7 years. "For Karnataka to become power sufficient, there are enough projects in progress but ground-level issues like land acquisition and environmental clearance are a concern. Everybody wants power, but nobody wants a power plant in their backyard,'' said a worried senior minister.

"Karnataka has embarked on an ambitious plan of adding 10,000MW of power before the end of the 12th Plan (2017), and 5,000 MW (of this) would be added in the next four years during the 11th Plan itself," Yeddyurappa said.

NTPC will start construction of its proposed 4000 MW ultra mega power project in Kudgi (Bijapur) with an investment of Rs 20,000 crore by this year-end and expected to be commissioned by 2013-14. "We have already handed over Rs 26.22 crore to the Karnataka government for 3500 acres of land and requested the state government to expedite acquisition," said R S Sharma, chairman, NTPC.

Another project in Chhattisgarh is a joint venture of KPC and the Chhattisgarh government for a Rs 6000 crore, 1,200 MW thermal plant, the first project by KPC outside Karnataka. The Chhattisgarh government has ensured early allocation of land and coal linkage for KPCL under its industrial policy. Karnataka will draw 70% power from the plant with the home state getting the rest, they added.

Karnataka also recently approved gas-based power projects involving over 5,000 MW during the Global Investors Meet in June this year. These include three projects of 700 MW each at Belgaum, Gadag and Davanagere along the 800-km pipeline from Dabhol in Maharashtra to Bidadi near Bangalore.

A 2,000 MW gas-based project at Bidadi to be executed by KPC has also been approved and steps taken to acquire 300 acres for it.


All these projects along with a dozen of mini power projects will come up. By the time, all these projects are completed, the demand may be much higher and the state still struggling to meet it. We need private participation in the power sector and promotion of renewable energy.

Read more: Aging units + scanty rain = power paucity - Bangalore - City - The Times of India

No comments: