In what could reflect a paradigm shift in the power generation pie in India, NTPC officials said one reason for low plant load factor (PLF) or the plant running capacity at their thermal power stations is due to increased share of clean energy.
"Low plant load factor of thermal power plants is due to growing component of clean energy," said A K Jha, director (technical), NTPC.
NTPC earlier has expressed as the power demand remains tepid from the states, the plant load factor PLF declined to 77.8 per cent in 2015 from, 79.3 per cent in 2014 and 85 per cent in 2012-13. NTPC is the largest thermal power producer of the country with close to 45,548 MW. It has 18 coal fired, seven gas based, eight solar renewable, one hydroelectric and seven subsidiaries/joint venture power stations.
"We had to shut down briefly three thermal power plants in Vallur, Andhra Pradesh due to excessive wind power generation," said Jha. In order to meet the base load, NTPC said it needs cheap gas. However, the minister for petroleum and natural gas (MoPNG) Dharmendra Pradhan said the demand is unreasonable.
"Demand for cheap gas is unreasonable, NTPC needs to augment capabilities for gas price above $5/mmbtu. It should emulate cross-subsidy model of Ratnagiri Plant for other gas based power plant," said Pradhan.
Pradhan was speaking at the NTPC's International O & M Conference. A senior NTPC executive said the statement was made in context of replacing diesel with gas. "We want gas at affordable price not cheap," said the executive.
Last year, to make cheap imported gas available for stranded gas based thermal power capacity, the central government initiated reverse e-auction under the newly approved 'Scheme for Utilization of Stranded Gas Based Generation Capacity'. The lowest price quoted was Rs 4.7 per unit.