Ample fuel supply to spur capacity addition: CEA

Written by Sanjay Jog | Mumbai | Updated: Oct 18 2009, 04:38am hrs
The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has taken up the power developers' issue of adequate fuel supply to meet the proposed capacity addition of 78,700 mw in the 11th Plan and 1 lakh mw in the 12th Plan. According to CEA's internal compilation released on Thursday, the gap between demand and availability of domestic coal in the terminal year of the 11th Plan is expected to be 74 million tonne necessitating import of about 50 million tonne. The shortfall is expected to increase to about 120 million tonne when all the 11th Plan projects are commissioned and stablised at the beginning of the 12th Plan. Of the 78,700 mw in 11th Plan, 59,693 mw will be added through thermal power projects and in the 12th Plan, of the 1 lakh mw, nearly 75,200 mw will be based on thermal power projects.

Besides, CEA has emphasised on the need for a priority in allocation of gas from future gas availability from indigenous sources and imports for new generation capacity of 20,000-25,000 mw to meet the deficit in domestic coal production and to reduce CO2 emissions of power sector. These gas-based projects could be located at brown field and green field sites where land and water are already available. This capacity could come up fast and make up for shortfall caused by slippages in ongoing thermal and hydro-power projects in 11th Plan and could also boost up the power availability at the beginning of the 12th Plan. Part of the gas-based capacity (2,000 mw) could be in combined cooling heating and power plants in view of high efficiency of 65% to 85% achievable in comparison to 55% in conventional combined cycle gas turbine plants.

As far as coal availability is concerned, CEA said the state-run Coal India has indicated additional coal production on only 100 million tonne during the 12th Plan at 20 million tonne per year. This will not even be adequate for meeting the full requirement of the 11th Plan projects. Blending of imported coal may be technically feasible to the tune of 10% only. Thus, CEA has predicted that coal shortage may result in stranded coal-based capacity.

However, CEA has observed that no coal seems to be available for linkage to new power projects of 12th Plan. Application of projects totaling to more than 1 lakh mw are pending in addition to captive power projects for coal linkage. The coal ministry has granted coal linkage to additional projects totaling to about 28,000 mw in November last year for which also Coal India will have to take up action for augmentation of the production capacity beyond their present projected production plan. CEA and power developers have argued that strategic equity participation in coal mining abroad is necessary to ensure coal availability and energy security.