New Delhi: Tata Power expects to complete modernisation work of one of the 500 MW units at its long-running Trombay thermal plant, that would allow use of coal as a fuel for electricity generation, by early 2015.
The decision to modernise the 500 MW unit came in the wake of gas shortages and higher oil prices that has led to under utilisation of the installed generation capacity. This 500 MW unit— which can now run only on oil and gas—is part of the total 1,580 MW installed capacity at the Trombay thermal plant that supplies power to Mumbai.
"We see costs of oil and gas rising and thus have proposed modernisation which will help reduce costs and ensure higher utilisation of capacity," Tata Power Executive Director S Padmanabhan told PTI in an e-mailed statement.
According to Tata Power, the modernisation work—of unit 6, having 500 MW capacity—is expected to be complete by early 2015.
The country's largest private power producer would invest Rs 1,174 crore toward modernisation, that would allow the use of coal to generate power from the unit.
"The dire need for modernisation has risen due to unavailability of natural gas which has resulted in Tata Power being dependent on expensive fuel like oil to run its unit 6," the statement said. Further, a shortage of low sulphur oil from local refineries and spiralling prices of imported oil and gas have led to significant escalation in the absolute cost of power generation from unit 6, it added.
As a result, the unit's Plant Load Factor (PLF)— a measure of operational efficiency—is around 50 percent. "This has necessitated modernisation, thus ensuring additional option of coal firing for optimum utilisation of the existing power generation infrastructure...," Tata Power said.
Tata Power said the modernisation would help in utilising the full capacity of 500 MW at best operating efficiency besides reducing "fuel cost and thus help lower tariffs for Mumbai customers". It includes addition of the latest state-of-the-art coal firing equipment and installation of pollution control equipment to make the unit work on coal, oil and gas, wherein all three fuels can be combined in any percentage.
The Trombay plant, which began operations way back in 1956, currently has five units. Unit 5 and 6 have 500 MW capacity each, while unit 4 has 150 MW, unit 7 (180 MW) and unit 8 (250 MW). Tata Power has an installed generation capacity of 6,899 MW.