Even as the country is in the grip of the coalgate fever, India’s second largest power plant at Kaniha has shut down a 500-MW unit due to coal shortage.
The power generation at the plant which normally stands at 3,000 MW a day has plummeted to anything between 1,300 and 1,400 MW. The plant provides power to about 17 states, including Odisha.
Coal crisis is nothing new for this 3,000 MW Talcher Super Thermal Power Plant (TSTPP) at Kaniha, owned by power major NTPC, but it is for the first time that the plant had to close a unit for want of coal from Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL).
“We are getting 35,000 tonnes of coal per day on an average instead of our linked demand of 55,000 tonnes for the last one month which has lead to an unprecedented shortage. Further, the coal is of very low quality and mixed with stones. These factors forced shutdown of the unit-2 of the power plant while unit-5 has been closed for annual maintenance,” said an official of NTPCKaniha.
He also disclosed that the stock is less than a day’s requirement. “Despite drawing from the imported coal, we still have to regulate generation in the running units due to short supply of coal from Lingaraj coalmine,” he added.
A senior MCL official blamed rains for the present crisis. He said there are 11 lakh tonnes of coal at Lingaraj coalmine to be lifted. NTPC-Kaniha, about 30 km from Talcher coalfield of MCL, draws coal from its linked Lingaraj coalmine through MGR system and also from Ib Valley coalfield by rakes.