Delay in commissioning of gas pipelines passing through Odisha seems to have poured cold water over Tata Power’s plan to set up a gas-based power plant in the state.
Tata Power had proposed a 2,000 MW coal-fired power project at Naraj near Cuttack. But, mounting protests from green activists owing to the deleterious impact of emissions from the power station on wildlife at the nearby Chandaka-Dampada sanctuary had forced the company to switch to gas based mode.
The company had thereafter submitted a revised application to the state government for a gas-based plant, presumably banking on supplies from the Surat-Paradip natural gas pipeline proposed by GAIL India Ltd. The Surat-Paradip pipeline will cover a distance of 400 km in Odisha. In addition to this pipeline, the 1,100-km Kakinada-Howrah pipeline which is under construction, is set to cover 434 km in the state.
“The gas pipelines are not likely to be commissioned before 2017. Against this backdrop, Tata Power may not be keen on gas-based plant. Since the company has already proceeded significantly on land acquisition and ordered equipment, it is not in a position to wait for five years,” said an energy department official.
Tata Power, however, said it is still keen on the gas-based power plant.
Asked if delay in gas availability would hurt the project's prospects, a company official said, “All I can say is that we are going to stick to the revised application that we have submitted to the state government.” The company’s coal-based planr had hit a roadblock owing to its proximity to the Chandaka-Dampada wildlife sanctuary. The plant site was located within a distance of only 1.5 km and wildlife clearance was mandatory for any project to be located within 10-km radius of a national park or wildlife sanctuary.
This had prompted Tata Power to alter the technology for the power project. The change in technology of the proposed power plant (coal-based to gas-fired) was necessitated by delay in obtaining clearances from the State Wildlife Board and National Wildlife Board, company representatives had earlier informed the state officials.
Tata Power’s 2,000 MW project was to come up on 1,000 acres of land. The company had claimed earlier that the land acquisition process was completed and it had paid Rs 100 crore to Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco) towards acquisition cost.