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Country’s largest power producer NTPC Ltd said it has slowed on plans to expand the capacity of its 3010 Mw plant at Kaniha near Talcher (Odisha).
NTPC intended to add two supercritical units of 800 Mw each to its existing super thermal power station at Kaniha, one of the largest in the country. The Kaniha plant has six coal-based generated units of 500 Mw each and one solar power plant of 10 Mw. However, the growing appeal of renewable energy sources like solar and wind accompanied by their sagging tariffs at auctions has prompted NTPC to hold back the expansion.
“The feasibility study report on expansion was sent to our Delhi office. But, now there is a demand tilt towards renewable energy. Keeping that in mind, the speed of Kaniha plant expansion is slow. Like other thermal producers, we are also going slow on expansion as we have to think of the public good and inexhaustible energy sources. But, as a producer of thermal power, NTPC is always amongst the most cost competitive”, said Ram Kuber, executive director of NTPC’s Talcher Super Thermal Power Station.
Kuber, however, hinted that thermal power would still continue to hold sway amid uncertainties in renewable power generation.
“Though the tariffs for both solar and wind power have dropped, renewable energy is still in a transition process. It has not yet stabilised. For renewable power, reliability is still lacking as it is dependent upon weather conditions”, said Kuber.
Out of 3000 Mw coal-based generation capacity at Kaniha, Odisha gets 530 Mw power as state share from Stage-I and Stage-II units. Most of the power capacity commissioned in the second stage of Kaniha station is exported to southern states.
NTPC has installed a 10 Mw solar power plant spread across 45 acres at Kaniha. The Maharatna utility has invested Rs 65 crore on this solar plant excluding the cost of land acquisition. It has a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) for sale of solar power at the rate of Rs 9.35 per unit.