CUDDALORE: The NLC India Limited has proposed to set up various power projects totalling 5,300 MW capacity in different parts of Tamil Nadu to compensate the 4,000 MW Sirkazhi Thermal Project, which has been shifted to Odisha.
“The Union Coal Ministry had allocated a coal block to the NLCIL in Chhattisgarh in 2013. Subsequently, the NLCIL had planned to utilise the fuel from the coal mine to feed its 4,000 MW Thermal Power Station, to be installed in Sirkazhi of Nagapattinam district. But after the preliminary investigations, the NLCIL had come to know that the coal block was not techno-economically viable for exploitation. Hence, the company approached the ministry to allot new coal blocks.
Based on that, the ministry allocated coal block in Odisha,” said the NLCIL management in its response, following media reports and protest regarding the project shifting. “As per the original proposal for Sirkazhi project, coal from Chhattisgarh mines was to be transported by road to the nearest railway station and from there to Sirkazhi by waterway, for which purpose a new harbour was to be established at Sirkazhi. All these will require huge funds. Moreover, the entire project was envisaged at a time when demand for power existed and the cost of power was high,” added the NLCIL.
Mentioning that solar energy was available at lower cost nowadays, the company said it would be very difficult to go ahead with the Sirkazhi project with high input fuel cost. “The cost would probably overrun the rate mentioned in the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) signed with southern states. It was based on these facts that the board of directors of the NLCIL decided not to pursue the Sirkazhi project,” said the management. It was observed that establishing a thermal power station near Odisha mines would be more viable, instead of transporting the coal down south. Hence, the NLCIL is planning to establish a 6 x 660 MW thermal power project at Talibara in Odisha in two stages.
“Due to non-viability, the NLCIL earlier had wound up mine-cum-power project in Gujarat, power projects in Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal and coal mine project in Chhattisgarh. Even here, the Jayamkondam Mine-cum-Power Project was dropped as it was economically not viable,” the management clarified.