A whopping 5.87 billion units (BU) of generation loss has been reported by power utilities due to non-availability of water during 11 months in the current financial year. “As per the information furnished by various utilities, the details of number of units which had to undergo shutdown during certain periods due to non-availability of water and generation loss….was 5,870 million units (MUs) in 2016-17 till February,” Power Minister Piyush Goyal said in a written reply to Lok Sabha today. The loss due to non-availability of water was 4,989 MUs in 2015-16, 1,258 MUs in 2014-15 and 5,253 MUs in 2013-14.
On steps being taken to reduce consumption of water, he said that with effect from June 1, 1999, closed cycle system is being installed in new thermal power plants instead of once through cooling system. Besides, he said there was installation of ash water recirculation system and stoppage of discharge from ash pond effluent since 2003 onwards under Corporate Responsibility for Environmental Protection (CREP).
Plants have also adopted high (65 per cent solids)/medium concentration (38 pc solids) ash slurry disposal system.
The other steps include disposal of fly ash in dry form after the notification on fly ash utilisation in 1999, maintaining high Cycle of Concentration in cooling towers and use of cooling tower blow down for disposal of bottom ash. The minister said that through these measures, total consumptive water requirement in a closed cycle system for a thermal power plant has been brought down from 7m3/MWh to about 3m3/MWh.
It said that as per information available, Pragati Power of IPPGCL, Delhi and Rattan India Power Ltd, Nashik and Koradi TPS (3×660 MW) of MAHAGENCO use treated sewage water. As per the Tariff Policy dated January 28, 2016, the cost incurred on using treated sewage water be allowed as a pass through in the tariff.
The Government of India has notified new Tariff Policy on January 28, 2016 wherein it is mandated that the thermal power plant(s) including the existing plants located within 50 km radius of sewage treatment plant of Municipality/local bodies/ similar organisation shall, in the order to their closeness to sewage treatment plant, mandatorily use treated sewage water produced by these bodies and the associated cost on this account be allowed as pass through in the tariff.
Besides Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change through notification dated December 7, 2015 has issued Environmental (Protection) Amendment Rules, 2015 wherein it is mandated that all existing and new plants shall achieve specified water consumption norms within period of two years from date of notification.