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Maharashtra starts process to replace old thermal plants with supercritical ones

(01 May 2017)

The Maharashtra Power Generation Company (Mahagenco) is planning to convert its retiring thermal power plants into supercritical ones. A proposal is being prepared by the company to be presented to the holding company Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) and the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC). A month after the Union power ministry announced its resolve to phase out power plants older than 25 years and replace them with supercritical ones, Mahagenco has already started preparing for the same. Union Minister Piyush Goyal had last month announced that power plants of NTPC, which together produced around 11,000 MW power, will be phased out gradually and converted into ‘super critical plant’. These plants will not only increase capacity but reduce pollution, he had said.

“Such plants need lesser amount of coal and have increased capacity. Supercritical plants cause at least eight times less pollution compared to the traditional power plants,” said Bipin Shrimali, the chairman and managing director of Mahagenco.

Until last year, Mahagenco had decommissioned two units of 210 MW each at the Chandrapur plant, one 210 MW unit at Parli power plant and one 200 MW unit at Koradi power plant.

The Koradi unit was recently replaced by a 3,300 MW supercritical plant which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mahagenco officials said that the generation company was planning to replace the rest with supercritical units.

However, given that the state has surplus power, Mahagenco may not add capacity to the plants. “The plan is to replace the existing capacity so far and not add capacity,” said an official on the condition of anonymity. He added that as the production cost is lower in case of supercritical plants, the tariff too will be lower and consumers could benefit from it.

The state-owned power generation company is now awaiting the demand supply data from its sister distribution company Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL).

“Our proposal will map the needs of the distribution company as per the power purchase agreement between the two companies,” said the official. In a recent hearing, the MSEDCL was directed by the MERC to prepare a detailed future plan based on its current demand and supply by mid-May.

Mahagenco will then plug its proposal to the distribution company’s needs and seek approval from the MSEB.

News Source : The Indian Express