Damodar Valley Corporation plans to bring its greenfield Kodarma thermal power plant with two 500-MW units in Jharkhand into operation by March. This will enhance the Corporation’s installed generation capacity to nearly 5,800 MW over and above capacities developed through joint ventures.

“Fuel-supply pacts for both the units are signed. Both the units are ready to go on stream. The first 500-MW unit (at Kodarma) will be operational in February and second unit is expected to come on stream in March 2013,” a Corporation official told Business Line.

Coal shortage

Though the second 500-MW unit at Durgapur Steel thermal power plant in Burdwan district of West Bengal is ready for operation, commercial generation is delayed due to host of issues including coal shortage and delay in completing the transmission network.

According to Corporation sources, coal shortage is severely hampering utilisation of the new capacities.

For example, of the about three-fourths of the 1,000-MW generation capacity added to the Mejia thermal power station (2,340 MW) in the 11th Plan remain idle due to delay in developing the captive mines.

The Corporation was offered four captive assets to meet part of its coal requirement for the 5,200-MW capacity-augmentation plan in the last Plan period.

This, coupled with lower availability of domestic coal through fuel-supply agreements, has created a net shortage of about 10 million tonnes a year (mtpa).

Captive mine

While one block was de-allocated for lack of progress, the Corporation is currently left with three blocks. Production has begun from Barjora (3 mtpa) in West Bengal. Though development of Khagra Joydev (3 mtpa) was over, production could not start due to law and order issues following alleged police firing on agitating villagers.

Development of Gondulpara block (4 mtpa) held jointly with Tenughat Vidyut Nigam is expected start in 2013. The Corporation is slated to get half (2 mtpa) of the production.

Expectation is that the Union Government will reallocate the large Saharpur-Jamalpur block back to the Corporation in couple of weeks.

Import plan

Meanwhile, to mitigate the coal crisis, the Corporation resorted to import of 3 mtpa Indonesian coal. “With softening of international prices, we find the best quality (6,300 kcal GAR) Indonesian coal is costing up to 10 per cent less than comparable domestic varieties (A and B Grade) sold by Coal India Ltd.”

(This article was published on February 7, 2013)
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