Union minister of state for coal Dasari Narayana Rao has informed Kerala government of Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) getting allotment of coal for captive power generation from the Baitarani coal block in Orissa. KSEB had applied for the allotment as early as in 2003.
The allocation means that Kerala goverment may soon sign MoU with Coal India Ltd and Orissa government for the new venture. The proposal is for generating 1,000 mw power annually for 25 years. KSEB will have to cough up the coal mining costs near Baitarani river basin and land price to Orissa government, besides bearing the resettlement package for those displaced from the project site. Orissa is to get 12% of the power produced in the proposed thermal station.
Considering the coal transportation costs and environmental burden, it was thought feasible to locate the KSEB power station at Orissa, Kerala power minister AK Balan said.
PowerGrid Corporation of Indias East-South Interconnector-II HVDC Bipole Transmission System (from Talcher in Orissa to Kolar in Karnataka) will be harnessed for transmitting the power to Kerala grid.
However, KSEB sources said that it will take at least 10 years to have Keralas Orissa project commissioned.
Kerala is now substantially reliant on hydel resources for its power requirement. This works out to about 90 paise per unit in production costs. However, because of monsoon vagaries and environmental ire, hydel power dependency is pointed out as myopic planning. The new project is considered as a costly alternative, which Kerala government cannot brush aside as the power requirements escalate.