MAC: Mines and Communities

Korba coal attracts 10,000 mw addition

Published by MAC on 2007-02-13

Korba coal attracts 10,000 mw addition

Financial Express, Korba

13th February 2007

Chhattisgarh is waking up to the potential of coal-based power, with a host of new projects and expansion projects centered around Korba industrial town, which sits on a coal belt.

The Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board has not seen any addition to its capacity of 1300mw during the last 15 years. Nor had the NTPC plant of 2100mw. Balco, in which the government retains a stake after its privatisation, had enough power to meet its own needs but can help the state's grid.

With one of the lowest per capita consumption, Chhattisgarh is now adding 10,000mw in stages and will soon be surplus in power.

Work on the Korba east power plant is progress fast, after languishing under the earlier government, headed by Ajit Jogi, which took three years to clear the site.

The present government has removed all obstacles in the way of an early commissioning.

Last month, the power plant was "lighted up", a precursor to proper commissioning, which will happen within a couple of months. However, there are worries over the work related to the cooling tower and water supply.

The state has invited entrepreneurs and asked the SEB to add one more unit of 500mw in the Korba west plant, which has shortlisted the contenders. It is learnt that a Chinese plant has bid the lowest.

When Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh, the state was power-surplus, with a capacity of 1900mw including its share of 500mw from the Central government's NTPC project.

But demand soon spurted and the state had to impose power cuts in villages to feed industry.

The government then decided to revamp and refurnish four old units of the SEB plant at korba, which helped to reclaim 40mw.

For the CSEB, Korba, with 10 units of varying capacities, was the first choice. The old site of the abandoned Korba east project was revived as the location of a new 500mw capacity with Bhel has the major partner for construction.

Although the NTPC plants at Korba generate 2100mw, they are connected to the power hungry western grid and spare hardly 25% for the state.

Balco, now under the Vedanta group, has its own plant of 270mw. Recently, it decided to add 540mw with a Chinese company has the construction partner. In the long term, Balco will add 1200mw.

Lanco of Hyderabad has already acquired land and started construction of a 600mw plant at Korba.

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