ANGUL:The expansion of the 460 MW Talcher Thermal Power Station (TTPS) has yet again been delayed with the Union Ministry of Environment asking the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to hold a fresh public hearing for its expansion project. The capacity of TTPS will be expanded with addition of two more 660 MW units near the existing plant at Talcher.
Public hearing for the two new units was held successfully in December 2010 by the State Pollution Control Board’s regional office to obtain environmental clearance. The NTPC authorities, though, did not apply to the Union Environment Ministry then for environmental clearance as it did not have coal linkage for the new units. The NTPC had applied to the Union Ministry of Coal for linkage in 2008, but that did not come by.
In the meantime, the public hearing stood cancelled after the expiry of two years in 2012, as per the law.
After failing to get linkage from Coal India, NTPC decided to source coal from its own mine at Jharkhand. Apparently, the mine allotted to the PSU in Jharkhand is currently being developed and would start coal production after four to five years. The coal block, having geological reserves of 1,600 million tonnes, was allotted to NTPC in October, 2004.
“Now as per the law, we will again have to go for public hearing, which is mandatory for obtaining environmental clearance from the Ministry. We will be holding the hearing in July this year after fulfilling all necessary requirements, including environment impact assessment,” said a senior NTPC official. After the environmental clearance, there will be funding from the NTPC board and expansion work would begin by early 2016.
Expansion of TTPS is necessary with Odisha facing a power deficit situation. The State will get 50 per cent power produced from the new units as per an agreement between the State Government and the NTPC.
The NTPC had taken over TTPS from the erstwhile Orissa State Electricity Board on June 3, 1995, following loss and very low plant load factor (PLF). The PLF is the ratio of the actual output of a power plant over a period of time and its output if it had operated in full capacity in that period. The PLF at that time was below 18 per cent. After renovation and modernisation of TTPS units over the years, the thermal power station has been consistently running at a PLF of 90 per cent and above.
According to official reports, this year so far, the power station has achieved an average daily PLF of 92.6 per cent, which is the highest among all the 23 NTPC plants across the country.