Tangedco takes up feasibility study for setting up gas turbine stations in north Chennai

The proposal is to take advantage of the natural gas pipeline infrastructure facility available at Ennore; the study involves setting up power plants of the capacity of 18 to 20 MW

February 03, 2023 12:37 am | Updated 12:37 am IST

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. says it will take up work on laying pipeline to supply LNG to the proposed power station based on the requirements of Tangedco.

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. says it will take up work on laying pipeline to supply LNG to the proposed power station based on the requirements of Tangedco. | Photo Credit: B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Tangedco has initiated a feasibility study to set up gas turbine power stations in north Chennai to generate 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity. The proposal to set up gas turbine stations was to make use of the natural gas pipeline infrastructure available from Ennore to Thoothukudi. The study is being taken up in the wake of Electricity Minister V. Senthilbalaji’s announcement in the Assembly in this regard.

A senior official of Tangedco said though the cost of gas was high at present, the power utility proposed to set up gas-based plants as part of its plans to generate clean energy. It will be making use of the vacant space where the old thermal stations were housed in Ennore along with the gas pipeline infrastructure facility of Indian Oil.

The senior official said the study involves setting up small gas engine power plants of the capacity of 18 MW to 20 MW for a total capacity of 2,000 MW.

Tangedco has appointed a consultant for the feasibility study based on which a detailed project report (DPR) would be readied.

Even while the engineering consultant was involved in conducting the feasibility study for setting up new gas power plants, the consultant will cover the technicalities of re-engineering the Basin Bridge gas project which has remained shut due to raw material, which turned expensive.

Tangedco, which has a gas turbine power station at Basin Bridge with a capacity of 120 MW, is planning to re-engineer the power station with Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) whereby power could be generated at a reduced variable cost.

The Basin Bridge station has four gas turbine stations of 30 MW each with naphtha being the primary material for generating electricity.

The senior electricity official said as the price of naphtha had been rising, the cost of power worked out to more than ₹20 per unit and so the gas stations remained shut since 2018. In order to restart the power stations, the feasibility study would cover the Basin Bridge project whereby the possibility of converting the fuel from naphtha to Re-gasified LNG to be used to run the plant at a low cost will be explored.

Sources in the oil and natural gas industry said conversion of coal-fired power plants had become necessary for State governments to reduce carbon footprint and attain net zero carbon as envisaged by the Centre.

Prohibitive cost

“Many plants run by the NTPC had converted to gas-driven facilities but have remained shut due to the prohibitive cost of gas. They depend on gas produced in India. But when those fields ran out of gas, they remained shut. Now, with the availability of imported Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), power plants are looking at hybrid options as well. Although the price of CNG is high now, it is expected to come down in a few months when winter ends in Europe. It is anticipated that it will climb down from the present $20 to below $10 soon,” he said.

Sources in the Indian Oil Pipeline Division said that preliminary talks had been held with Tangedco about supply of CNG.

“We have been holding talks with industrial customers and are supplying in bulk to several clients, including those at Sriperumbudur. Based on Tangedco’s requirements, laying of pipeline and supply will be taken up,” the official added.

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