Mahanadi Coalfields mulls higher capacity at Odisha thermal plant -

Mahanadi Coalfields mulls higher capacity at Odisha thermal plant


NEW DELHI: Coal India subsidiary Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd may expand its upcoming thermal power plant in Odisha’s Sundargarh district by adding 2400 MW in phase-II, taking the total capacity of the unit to 4,000 MW.

The first phase of the project, of 1,600 MW, is likely to start work in the next financial year and be commissioned in 2028.

The land for the project was earlier allotted for the Bedabahal ultra mega power project of 4,000 MW, which was eventually scrapped, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

MCL then acquired the land from PFC Consulting Ltd amid lack of interest from any other thermal generating company, they said.

“There is definitely a demand for the project. Interest for almost 3200 MW has been received so far. But the company may first look to complete phase-I,” said one of the persons, who did not wish to be identified.

Thermal capacity additions are being pushed by the government after a long hiatus as the country’s demand has been increasingly sharply and is likely to grow in the future.Thermal energy was written off a few years ago, which was premature, power minister RK Singh had said in November. Thermal cannot be written off until energy storage becomes viable, he had said.Thermal power is going to stay until energy storage becomes cost-effective for round-the-clock supply through renewable energy, the minister said.

Non-solar hours are going to be a serious challenge, considering growing power demand and weather events like the one in August this year, he said.

August saw lower rainfall and higher-than-normal temperatures in many places.

Electricity demand has risen sharply this year, with energy consumed in August registering a 16.3% year-on-year growth, September 10.3% and October 21%.

The power ministry increased its projection of thermal capacity requirement and addition by 30 GW to 80 GW by 2031-32.

Coal companies are likely to play an important role in the addition of such capacities, according to government officials.

The coal ministry has also been promoting large-scale diversification among its public sector enterprises, advising all subsidiaries to look for establishing new pithead thermal power plants.


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