State-owned generation utility, Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited (GSECL), plays a strategic role in meeting Gujarat’s power needs. It has built a sizeable power generation portfolio of more than 6 GW, comprising a mix of technologies – coal, lignite, gas, hydro and renewable energy. In view of the energy transition, GSECL has taken a number of initiatives to respond to the new and changing requirements. From building a more balanced portfolio by adding more renewables to its installed base, improving the efficiency performance of its existing assets via retrofits and modernisation initiatives, and ensuring compliance of its projects with environment norms, to adding flexibility to its thermal power assets as Gujarat prepares to integrate more renewable energy into the grid, GSECL is adapting itself to prepare for the future grid.
Key highlights and recent performance
GSECL owns an installed capacity of 6.8 GW, which comes largely from four coal-based thermal power plants aggregating 4,510 MW. Apart from this, it has two gas plants (970 MW), two lignite-based power plants (650 MW) and two hydropower plants (547 MW). The company has also set up 99 MW of renewable generation projects – 10 MW of wind and 89 MW of solar power.
A key achievement for the genco was the commissioning of an 800 MW coal-based unit at the Wanakbori thermal power station (TPS) in March 2019. It started commercial operation in December 2019. It is the first supercritical technology-based project commissioned by the company. On the renewable energy front, GSECL started commercial operation of a 75 MW solar PV-based power project (Phase I) at Dhuvaran, in February 2019. In addition, GSECL achieved an all-time high of 148 per cent in ash despatch from its coal- and lignite-based power plants during 2019-20.
The company sold 18,455 MUs of electricity during 2019-20, a decrease of 19 per cent from the 22,824 MUs sold in the previous year. GSECL’s power generation increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7 per cent between 2016-17 and 2019-20. As per the Central Electricity Authority, the average plant load factor (PLF) of GSECL’s stations decreased from 65.4 per cent in 2018-19 to 43.12 per cent in 2019-20, mainly due to subdued demand on account of Covid-19. During 2020-21 (till October 2020), the company generated 8,813 MUs of electricity, with an average PLF of 20.61 per cent for coal-based TPSs.
During the four-year period from 2016-17 to 2019-20, GSECL’s total revenue increased at a CAGR of 6.8 per cent, from Rs 80.71 billion to Rs 98.39 billion. During the same period, its profit after tax (PAT) increased significantly at a CAGR of 42.4 per cent from around Rs 0.38 billion to Rs 1.11 billion. In terms of year-on-year performance, the company’s total revenue decreased by 17 per cent in 2019-20, from Rs 118.51 billion in 2018-19. Its PAT decreased by 70 per cent from Rs 3.72 billion in 2018-19.
To enhance the flexible operation of coal-based plants in order to support renewable energy integration, a lower minimum technical load trial of up to 200 MW (40 per cent) was successfully completed at the 500 MW Unit 6 of the Ukai TPS in March 2020. For this, the company received technical assistance from Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited and Deloitte under an MoU with the United States Agency for International Development. GSECL is also making efforts to ensure compliance of its generating units with the environment norms. Currently, of the 5,160 MW installed coal- and lignite-based power plants, 3,140 MW of capacity is already compliant with the particulate matter (PM) norms. Of the remaining 2,020 MW, electrostatic precipitator upgradation has been completed for 1,240 MW. All these plants are planned to be compliant with the new PM norms by mid-2022. For the control of SOx emissions, flue gas desulphurisation systems have been planned for 4,585 MW of capacity.
On the renewable energy front, a 75 MW solar PV-based power project (Phase 2) at Dhuvaran is in the implementation phase. Further, a 2×100 MW solar PV project is under implementation at the Raghaneshda Solar Park. The genco is also undertaking 2,500 MW of solar PV projects for power supply under the Suryashakti Kisan Yojana.
Net, net, GSECL’s initiatives and investments are expected to strengthen its foothold in the state’s power sector and will help the company respond to disruptions in the power sector with ease.