For print and web. Central Coalfields (CCL), a subsidiary of mining behemoth Coal India, is exploring avenues to form a joint venture (JV) with the Jharkhand government for the second phase expansion of the Tenughat thermal power station (TTPS).

The power plant, located in Lalpania village of Bokaro district, already has two units of 210 megawatts (MW) each. The State government aims to extend it by 1,320 MW by adding two supercritical units of 660 MW each.

Sources said that TTPS has around 1,800 acres of land, for which TVNL has planned its future expansion by adding the two supercritical units. After these two units are added, the total installed capacity of the TPP will reach 1,740 MW.

Initial discussions between top officials from CCL and the Jharkhand government took place last week. It has been decided that both parties will form two committees to decide on modalities such as partnership in the JV, etc.

The idea is that the state government can provide the land, while CCL can provide the coal for the supercritical units from its mines, which are close to the power plant.

Tenughat Vidyut Nigam (TVNL), a Jharkhand government undertaking, operates the TTPS. Its first unit was put into commercial operation in September 1996, followed by the second unit a year later. TVNL contributes around 350 MW to the state grid. Power generated by the plant is earmarked for state-owned discom Jharkhand Bijli Vitaran Nigam.

The daily requirement of coal for full load generation for its 420 MW is around 7,000 tonnes, which is met by road and rail transport from its nearby collieries. TTPS is connected by the Merry Go Round (MGR) rail route from the Dumri Bihar railway station, located in Giridih district of the state.

From coal to power

Last week, the development came close on the heels of the Union Cabinet approving a cumulative equity investment of ₹5,607 crore by two CIL subsidiaries for setting up two pithead thermal power plants (TPPs) of 2,260 MW. The total project cost is ₹21,547 crore. 

South Eastern Coalfields (SECL) is setting up a 660 MW TPP through a JV of coal miner and Madhya Pradesh Power Generation Company (MPPGCL). The second project is by Mahanadi Coalfields (MCL) for setting up a 1,600 MW TPP through Mahanadi Basin Power (MBPL), a subsidiary of MCL.

The Coal Ministry is encouraging mining PSUs to diversify revenue streams to be future-ready with strategies for not only TPPs but also installing solar and wind power.

Besides, as India’s power demand is growing at around 7 per cent annually, coupled with the target of 500 GW non-fossil fuel capacity, TPPs would be required (in the absence of cost-effective battery storage) to maintain the integrity of the power grid.

The Ministry advised CIL to find suitable de-coaled land for establishing pit-head TPPs. Setting up units at pit-head is more cost-effective, with a tentatively fixed cost of around Rs 2.5 a unit and a variable cost of about Rs 1.25 per unit.

Accordingly, the PSUs have plans to add a coal-based capacity of 6,640 MW, for which an investment of more than Rs 60,300 crore has been planned. These are expected to be commissioned by FY29.

Apart from CIL, lignite miner NLCIL is setting up a 1,980 MW capacity TPP at Ghatampur, near Kanpur, for ₹19,406 crore. The first phase is expected to be commissioned by February 2024. It is also setting up a 2,400 MW pit-head TPP at Talabira in Odisha. The project cost is estimated at Rs 19,422 crore.