Finnish power major Wartsila is planning to expand its footprint in India with the launch of a remote monitoring station aimed at popularising its flexible decentralised power plants.

“This monitoring station allows surveillance of power installations to make sure they are operating optimally and to prevent any possible failures or breakdowns. The first phase will monitor 14 plants (285 MW) out of our total installed capacity of 3500 MW in India,” said Rakesh Sarin, Managing Director, Wartsila India Ltd., addressing presspersons here on Wednesday.

“It also allows companies to set up power plants in remote locations without worrying about accessibility or the initial capex involved in periodically sending experienced personnel to check the plant.

“Theoretically, this station here in Chennai has the capability of monitoring all of our power plants – which we will do in a phased manner” he said.

While surveillance services will be initially provided for the power plant customers of Wartsila India, the Indian arm of Wartsila, it will be available later to potential clients for a yet-to-be decided fee.

The company is also in the process of adding 500 MW gas-based power plants to its operations and maintenance portfolio (O&M), bringing the division’s total capacity to around 2,000 MW.

According to company officials, the plants are located in South India.

Peaker plants

The firm believes that the key to addressing power shortage in India is by specifically targeting peak load shortfall in power generation capacity.

Power shortages and ‘brownouts’ are primarily due to the inability of the electricity board to cater to peak hour demand in the mornings or evenings.

Wartsila’s decentralised power plants operate on liquid fuels or gas, and can be reduce costs by being deployed quicker than conventional power plants.

“The government must address this issue through ‘smart power generation', with flexible plants such as ours, which encourages decentralised power generation that can rapidly step up supply to the grid or slow down at short notice,” he said.