In a development that could cheer up the power starved southern region, Anil Dhirubhai Ambani owned Reliance Power has put the 2,400 MW Samalkot power project in Andhra Pradesh on fast track with the delivery of first batch of gas turbines being despatched by U.S.-based General Electric (GE) ahead of schedule.

The development is likely to allow Reliance Power to commission the first phase of the project this year itself. GE had already despatched two gas turbines of 260 MW each from its South Carolina facility. The turbines were earlier scheduled to be released in May. The advanced class 9FA fuel efficient machines for the project are expected to reach Samalkot in the latter half of May.

Confirming the development, Reliance Power officials said, “the 2,400 MW Samalkot project is being executed on a fast track basis and we are confident of starting power generation this year itself. The early arrival of shipments would help Reliance Power commission the gas-based project within the XI Plan during which an estimated 51,000 MW power generation capacity is proposed to be added.''    

Officials said that after the project was commissioned, it would contribute over 16,000 million units (kWh) to the southern region.    Reliance Power had placed the main plant equipment order for the project with GE in October last.

The order —- comprising six gas turbines, three steam turbines and generators — for its supported by long-term project recourse finance from the U.S. Exim bank.  

GE is responsible for maintenance of the power project throughout its operating life, along with guaranteed availability, output and efficiency.

The Samalkot project had also got special mention by U.S. President Barack Obama during his recent visit to the GE factory in Schenectady.

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