THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Call it a sign. The valve leak which led to the shutdown of three generators at the Moolamattom power station in Idukki district occurred at a time when the 40-year-old station was being marked for a major overhaul.
The renovation and modernisation project, expected to cost Rs 89.90 crore, will go ahead as planned starting June 2017. The idea is to extend the lifespan of three of the six generators here, top officials of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) said. Under the project, the first three generators which make up Stage 1 - incidentally, the same machines that were shut down on Saturday - will be revamped.
Moolamattom station has six generators in all, each with a capacity of 130 MW. ‘’The No: 1, 2 and 3 generators will undergo renovation and modernisation. Work will start on the first machine in June 2017, after the summer,’’ said N Venugopal, director (distribution, safety, generation-electrical), KSEB.
Assigned to General Electric Power India Ltd, work on all three generators is expected to take three-and-a-half years. Work will be called off during the summer months, as Idukki power is critical in meeting the additional demand. No: 1 unit will be back in operation by February 2018.
Moolamattom is the power station of the 780 MW Idukki power project, the state’s biggest. The generators here are also some of the oldest, as the project had launched operations in 1976. On Saturday, following the detection of a leak on the pipe carrying water to the turbines of the No: 3 generator, the KSEB had shut down the three generators which make up Stage 1. The repairs are expected to take around two weeks.
According to a Central Electricity Authority (CEA) diktat, power facilities 35 years or older must extend their lifespan through modernisation and renovation. Subsequently, the Bengaluru-based Central Power Research Institute (CPRI) conducted residual life analysis tests on the three units between 2011 and 2014. The CPRI concluded that the generators and turbines were in satisfactory condition and they would be good for another ten years. It was on the basis of this study that the KSEB decided to launch the ‘rejuvenation’ programme.