Plan to set up thermal power plant at Baitarani West in Orissa

Kerala is considering the option of approaching the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to set up a thermal power plant at Baitarani West in Orissa, where a stretch of coal fields had been allocated to it by the Union government.

Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed said here on Thursday that the State's plan originally was to bring the coal from Baitarani to feed a new thermal power plant to be set up at Cheemeni in Kasaragod district.

Land for the proposed power plant was available there but the people of the locality were against the project.

The coal allocated to the State at Baitarani West could keep a 1,000-MW thermal power plant running for over 40 years.

Company set up

The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) had also set up a joint venture company with the Gujarat Power Corporation and the Orissa Hydro Power Corporation for coal exploration in the fields allocated to Kerala.

Answering a question at a press conference, Mr. Aryadan Mohammed said instead of bringing coal from these fields to the State to feed a new power plant that met with objections, the State wished to examine the prospect of having a pithead power plant at Baitarani West itself.

The NTPC could help the State in implementing the plan.

He said the State's efforts to increase its power generation capacity were up against hurdles because of protests from environmental groups.

The proposal to set up a hydroelectric station at Athirappally was cleared by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests thrice, but the State could not proceed with the implementation of the project.

The peak hour demand for power in the State now was 3,100 MW.

The installed power generation capacity in the State, counting both the hydroelectric stations and the thermal stations, came to only 1,800 MW. The State was receiving 944 MW from the Central pool. The State had to buy from the open market the remaining quantity of power required to satisfy the demand. “Kerala will soon be in a crisis if we do not find some solution for increasing the power generation capacity. Demand for power in the State is set to reach the level of 6,000 MW by 2020, according to studies,” the Minister said.

His press conference was to announce that the Electricity Department had overachieved the targets it had set for itself in various areas like power distribution, transmission, and generation as part of the Oommen Chandy government's 100-day action programme.