Commissions two new supercritical units at the Ib TPS

Odisha Power Generation Corporation Limited (OPGC) was set up in 1984. The company’s first project, the 420 MW Ib thermal power station (TPS) in the Ib Valley area of Jharsuguda district, was commissioned in 1994 (210 MW Unit 1) and 1996 (210 MW Unit 2). However, following reforms in the state, 49 per cent of the company’s equity was divested to US energy giant AES Corporation in early 1999. OPGC then became a 51:49 joint venture (JV) company between the Odisha government and AES.

In 2013, the JV started a 1,320 MW expansion project at the Ib TPS site. In March 2019, OPGC completed the expansion of the project by commissioning two additional supercritical units (Units 3 and 4) of 660 MW each adjacent to the existing units. The new units have been built at an investment of almost Rs 115 billion. With the commissioning of these two units, power generation from the station will increase to 1,740 MW. “These two OPGC units will make Odisha self-sufficient in meeting its electricity need and play a pivotal role in the overall development of the state,” stated Odisha’s chief minister Naveen Patnaik at the inauguration of the project.

OPGC’s performance so far

Power generation from the first two units has been steady. In 2018-19, a total generation of 3,085.45 MUs was recorded at an average plant load factor (PLF) of 83.86 per cent, as against 2,842.35 MUs at a PLF of 77.25 per cent in 2017-18. The auxiliary consumption stood at 10.74 per cent in 2018-19, specific fuel oil consumption at 0.385 ml per kWh and specific coal consumption at 0.831 kg per kWh. In October 2019, a total generation of 203.961 MUs was recorded corresponding to a plant availability factor of 98.22 per cent and PLF of 65.27 per cent. The entire generation from the first two units is committed to Grid Corporation of Odisha (GRIDCO), the state-owned power transmission and trading company, under a long-term power purchase agreement.

Expansion project details

The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors for the expansion project were Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited and BGR Energy System Limited. The project was funded on a debt-equity ratio of 3:1. The equity component of Rs 28.8 billion was borne by OPGC. The Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) equally funded the Rs 86.6 billion loan component.

For the project, coal will be sourced from the Manoharpur coal block and dip-side of the Manoharpur coal block, which has been allotted to Odisha Coal and Power Limited (OCPL), a state-owned government company. These coal mines have been allotted exclusively for OPGC’s end-use plants and have reserves of 531 mt and annual mining capacity of 8 mt. Till the mines become operational, the project will procure coal from Mahanadi Coalfields Limited’s (MCL) Lakhanpur coal mines under a bridge linkage secured from the coal ministry in February 2016.

For coal transport, an EPC contract has been awarded to Larsen & Toubro Limited for a dedicated railway corridor, Merry Go Round (MGR), to establish rail connectivity from the captive coal mines at Manoharpur to the power plant at Banharpali. Power generated from the project is being sold to GRIDCO. Power from the project is evacuated by OPTCL and Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (Powergrid) lines to the Lapanga and Sundergarh substations respectively. Construction of both Powergrid and OPTCL lines has been completed.

Financial performance

OPGC registered a total income of Rs 6.23 billion in 2017-18, as against Rs 7.58 billion in 2016-17, marking a year-on-year decline of nearly 17.81 per cent. The revenue from sale of power during 2017-18 stood at Rs 6.07 billion. The revenue declined due to a reduction in the quantum of power sold. Meanwhile, OPGC recorded a net profit of Rs 0.032 billion in 2017-18 as against a profit of Rs 0.66 billion in 2016-17.

Issues and challenges     

Since two of its units have been operating for more than 20 years, OPGC has been undertaking system upgradation and modernisation. Dwindling coal supply is another challenge for the genco. Reportedly, in October and November 2019, OPGC had to shut down one of its four units due to disruption in coal supply from MCL.

To comply with the environmental norms, OPGCL has been making efforts to maintain and upgrade its pollution control equipment. These include ESP upgradation to reduce emissions, and online monitoring of air quality and emission parameters. Further, liquid effluents are recycled and reused up to 98 per cent. Other measures include ash pond management, fugitive dust control through advanced dry fogging at coal handling plants, installation of a 1 mld capacity zero-discharge sewage treatment plant. Further, new ESPs, dry fog dust suppression systems and rooftop solar plants have been installed in various locations.

According to news reports, OPGCL has planned for further expansion of the project by setting up two more units. However, the details are yet to be worked out. For now, commencement of coal production from the allocated coal blocks will be the immediate priority for the company.



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