Although the North Chennai unit was originally scheduled to be commissioned in December 2019, it is now expected to be ready only by March 2020.
The coal ministry’s standing committee on linkage has approved fresh fuel supply to upcoming power generation units in Tamil Nadu having capacity of 2,400 MW. The two under-construction power plants — North Chennai Thermal Power Station Stage-III (800 MW) and Uppur Super Critical Thermal Power Project (1,600 MW) — had sought domestic coal linkages under the Centre’s Shakti scheme.
The panel has recommended two million tonne of domestic coal supply from the Singareni Collieries, and the rest would be procured from Coal India (CIL). The two power plants would blend imported and domestic coal on a 50:50 ratio. The Shakti scheme was designed to save power plants who were without adequate fuel supply agreements.
Although the North Chennai unit was originally scheduled to be commissioned in December 2019, it is now expected to be ready only by March 2020. Similarly, the expected commissioning of the Uppur project has been delayed to March 2022 from the initial timeline of April 2020.
The coal ministry’s committee has also recommended the extension of existing bridge linkages to NTPC’s 500 MW Barauni Stage-2 plant (Bihar) and DVC’s units in Mejia (West Bengal) and Chandrapura (Jharkhand). Bridge linkages are temporary supply contracts for state-owned generation units that have been allotted coal blocks, but mines are yet to start production.
NTPC Barauni will receive coal under the bridge linkage only for a year from the formal allotment of the Badam coal block. The power plants of DVC are scheduled to get coal from the Khagra Joydev coal block. The Khagra mine was expected to produce coal from June 2015 but it is yet to receive environmental and forest clearances and sort out land acquisition issues.
The panel also recommended coal linkages from CIL to Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh under the Shakti scheme. It also directed CIL to earmark 10 million tonne per year of coal for three years for power plants which would sell electricity through the central government’s so-called Pilot scheme-2 to salvage private generating stations without power purchase agreement. However, coal
allocation to plants under the Shakti scheme is contingent on approvals of other authorities.