Some relief (though not much) from the vexing power cuts to the people of Tamil Nadu is likely to come from the two units of the North Chennai Thermal Power Station, the first of which is expected to be synchronised with the grid in a few days.

“We will get full load this month,” a senior official of Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, told Business Line today. BHEL is building the station for the TANGEDCO, the state’s electricity utility. “Full load” refers to running the plant at its maximum rated capacity of 600 MW.

The Unit II will come up first due to generator meant for the Unit I fell into a river while being brought a couple of years ago. But another generator is being shipped and is scheduled to arrive at site shortly.

The official said that BHEL would “attempt to synchronise” the Unit I too by the end of March. In any case, both the units will be up and running this summer, bringing 1,200 MW of capacity to the state.

Since the 500 MW Vallur project, owned by a joint venture of NTPC and TANGEDCO is also expected to be linked to the grid next month, there will be additional relief to the power-starved Tamil Nadu. The second unit of the Vallur Thermal Power Station will take a few more months. Tamil Nadu will get 390 MW from each of these two units.

Beyond summer

The chances of the situation improving further after summer are believed to be extremely bright. A joint venture of TANGEDCO and Neyveli Lignite Corporation is building a 1,000 MW plant near the southern port city of Tuticorin, and the first of the two unit is likely to pump in electricity in July.

And then there is Kudankulam. After a six-year delay – which is enough time to build a new nuclear power plant – the first unit of 1,000 MW will begin humming next month. Since engineers only gradually ramp up, the initial generation in February-March will be only from 250 MW of capacity.

ramesh.m@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 25, 2013)
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