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Power Tangedco: Tangedco officials are hopeful of tiding Chennai city through the ensuing summer as peak demand is likely to touch 16,000 MW

The peak demand on April 29 last year was 15,343 MW while the total power consumption was 345.617 MU (million units). With no rain and the state facing drought, acute water scarcity has resulted in the corporation’s hydro units having only 25 per cent storage which cannot in any way augment the power needs of the Greater Chennai Corporation.

Power Tangedco: Tangedco officials are hopeful of tiding Chennai city through the ensuing summer as peak demand is likely to touch 16,000 MW


Though the corporation on record has a total installed capacity of 21,701.60 MW, this includes the mainstay of 13,231.44 MW through its hydro, thermal, nuclear and gas plants while the remaining 8470.16 MW are sourced through non-conventional energy sources including co-generation, biomass, solar and wind power. 

Though the first and second units of the much publicised KKNPP (Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant) of 1000 MW each have become operational, they still have not come up to anticipated levels. TANTRANSCO (TN Transmission Corporation) report for March 2 reveals that power production was only 1,030 MW against the installed capacity of 2,000 MW. 

Unit I produced 770 MW and unit II 270 MW. According to a notification from the central government regarding allocation of power to the four southern states and Puducherry, KKNPP’s 2,000 MW will result in TN being the biggest gainer it has been getting 925 MW, followed by Karnataka with 442 MW, Andhra Pradesh with 300 MW, Kerala with 266 MW and Puducherry will get 67 MW. 

KKNPP power is first uploaded to the southern power grid and from there is diverted to the states. Thus, the burden of power production will fall on the four major thermal units as the gas units at Valuthur 95 MW (Ramanathapuram district), Kuttalam 101 MW (Nagapattinam district), Tirumakottai 107.88 MW (Tiruvarur district) and Basin Bridge 120 MW (Chennai), though producing cheap power, have limited power production capacities. 

The state’s four major thermal units are ETPS (Ennore Thermal Power Station), MTPS (Mettur Thermal Power Station), NCTPS (North Chennai Thermal Power Station) and TTPS (Thoothukudi Thermal Power Station) have higher power production capacities of 450 MW, 840 MW, 630 MW and 1050 MW respectively. But the PLF (Plant Load Factor) which is “the ratio of total number of kWh supplied by a generator or generating station to total number of kWh which would have been supplied if the generator or generating station was operated continuously at maximum continuous rating.” 

PLF for ETPS is the lowest at 35.42% while Mettur has the highest at 82.42%. The percentage for the other two units are 81.24% (NCTPS) and 73.33% (TTPS). While officials are burning the midnight oil to ensure that ETPS also comes up to par, the only silver lining is that coal the raw material for the four units is available in plenty. 

The Mahanadhi coal fields and Eastern coal fields in Odisha and West Bengal respectively were the main suppliers till the early years of this century when the central government allowed coal import from Indonesia to meet the additional demand consequent to new units being started in MTPS and NCTPS. 

The ratio of local coal to imported coal which was 60:40 in 2012 was brought down to 70:30 the next year due to better operation and maintenance at the power units. This was further reduced to 80:20 as on date. The state government orders 45 lakhs tonnes of coal annually at an estimated 7500 crores for the four units. 

Officials said “for the current year, we are still due to get 15 lakh tonnes from Indonesia. This will be enough to tide us over the summer and then when demand drops, orders will be placed for the next financial year.” Indonesian coal is offloaded from ships at the Chennai and Thoothukudi ports from where it is forwarded to the concerned units. 

While Ennore and Mettur get their loads through rail, the North Chennai and Thoothukudi power stations get their directly through massive conveyor belts which transport it directly to the plants.

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