Two aging units of the Kota Thermal Power station with a generation capacity of 110 megawatt (MW) each will ride off into sunset if the state government approves a proposal for their closure.
Set up in 1983, the units have completed their useful life of 25 years as per the guidelines of the Central Electricity Act and need to be closed. A recent order of ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) says if they are kept operational beyond December 2022, they will be liable to a penalty of Rs 10-20 paisa per unit of the power.
When TOI spoke to Dinesh Kumar, principal secretary, department of energy, he said, “There is a proposal from the Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RVUNL) and the government will take a decision at the appropriate level.”
Built with old technology and design, the two units consume more coal to produce per unit of power. As per the industry parlance, the heat rate should not be more than 2,600 kilo calories of coal per unit of power. The two units are consuming 3,000 kilo calories to produce one unit of power which is environmentally not sustainable.
As per the MoEF guidelines, the units which have heat rate of more than 2,600 kilo calorie and have completed their useful life of 25 years, need to be retired.
When TOI contacted R K Sharma, chairman and managing director of RVUNL, he said, “Though thermal power cannot be wished away as it provides the base load, we are going to focus on generation of renewable power, especially solar. We have sent proposals to set up 810 MW solar power plant. Once administrative and financial approval is received, we will go ahead with the projects.”
RVUNL is looking at a future of mix generation of both its traditional thermal power and renewable energy to remain economically viable.
Solar being an infirm power, dependent on sunlight, it cannot be produced round-the-clock like thermal. Even if solar power is cheaper, thermal will stay as a main source of power.