Bengaluru

Yelahanka gas-based power plant commissioning likely this summer

Getting ready: The 370-MW power plant is coming up at Yelahanka in place of a defunct diesel plant.

Getting ready: The 370-MW power plant is coming up at Yelahanka in place of a defunct diesel plant.   | Photo Credit: File Photo

Residents, environmentalists worry about its proximity to apartments and lakes

After faltering over multiple deadlines, the combined cycle power plant at Yelahanka, which has been in the works for several years, may finally see the light of the day by April. Test operations are expected to coincide with the summer when the peak load sees a sharp rise, lending to a considerable strain on electricity supply.

Pegged to be Bengaluru’s first own power plant, its construction was launched by the then Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in June 2016 and was expected to be ready by May 2018. The 370-MW plant is coming up in place of a defunct diesel plant at a cost of ₹1,570 crore.

Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. (KPCL) officials attributed the delay in completion of the gas-based power plant to “design issues” and the fact that it had to clear pollution control board norms. “We are looking at commencing testing in March-end or April, and commissioning it by the end of April,” said V. Ponnuraj, managing director, KPCL.

Power is transmitted to Bengaluru from thermal stations in Ballari, Raichur, and other parts of the country. The Yelahanka plant is touted to be a useful resource to manage any sudden requirement and peak load management by enabling easy start and stop of supply.

Stiff resistance

However, there has been stiff resistance to the plant from residents as well as environmentalists. K.S. Sangunni, chairperson of Yelahanka Puttenahalli Lake and Bird Conservation Trust, said the plant had come up on what was formerly a green area while the defunct diesel plant had been left as it is.

“Usually, there is a buffer zone for power plants according to norms in other countries. Here, the power plant is barely 500 metres from a residential apartment. I am not against the power plant, but let the government follow the rules,” he said, and added, “The Puttenahalli bird reserve and the Yelahanka lake are close by. Water is going to be heated to a high temperature. Treated water has to be let into the bird reserve and lake. Who is going to monitor this?”

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) had made certain recommendations for the Yelahanka plant.

KSPCB officials said the board had recommended to the KPCL that the plant should have a “zero liquid discharge effluent treatment plant with RO (reverse osmosis) and MEE (multiple effect evaporation)”.

“The KSPCB has not yet given approval for operations of the plant,” said an official.

Mr. Ponnuraj maintained that all recommendations made by the pollution control board had been implemented. “For instance, one recommendation was that the height of the chimney be 46 metres, but it is 60 metres,” he said.

About concerns of residents and environmentalists, he said being a gas-based plant, pollution levels would be “considerably lower” when compared with thermal power plants.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 2:02:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/yelahanka-gas-based-power-plant-commissioning-likely-this-summer/article26232002.ece

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