Karnataka

Coal crunch hits thermal power generation

The impact: On Sunday, only five of the eight units of the Raichur Thermal Power Station were functioning, generating about 950 MW of power in all.

The impact: On Sunday, only five of the eight units of the Raichur Thermal Power Station were functioning, generating about 950 MW of power in all.  

Three stations on which the State is heavily dependent on do not have enough coal stock

Power generation at Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS), Yermarus Thermal Power Station (YTPS) and Ballari Thermal Power Station (BTPS) has been affected owing to coal shortage. Sources in Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. (KPCL), confirmed that none of the three thermal stations, on which the State is heavily dependent on for its energy needs, had enough coal stock.

The RTPS, an eight-unit power station with an installed capacity of 1,720 MW, needs 26,000 tonnes of coal every day to run all its units. As its coal stock has exhausted one week ago owing to insufficient supply, the power station is forced to depend on coal rakes for supply on a daily basis. According to RTPS authorities, coal supply has dropped from 10 to 12 rakes (each rake can hold about 3,500 tonnes of coal) a day a few months ago to just five rakes a day. On Sunday, only five of the eight units were functioning, generating about 950 MW of power in all. “There is no stock of coal in the RTPS. We are dependent on daily arrival of coal rakes,” C. Venugopal, executive director of the RTPS, told The Hindu on Sunday.

The stock of 30,000 tonnes of coal at the YTPS, a two-unit station with an installed capacity of 1,600 MW, is expected to last a week. There is no fresh supply on a daily basis. On Sunday, one unit was generating around 340 MW against its installed capacity of 800 MW. Since the station does not have coal linkage, it is receiving coal from the RTPS. With the RTPS itself facing coal shortage, supply to the YTPS has been stopped.

“The stock will last six days. If we don’t receive fresh supply, we may have to shut down the unit,” Lakshman Kabade, chief engineer of the YTPS, said.

The condition in the BTPS is no different. The 3-unit station with an installed capacity of 1,700 MW has a stock of only 8,000 tonnes of coal. It is receiving only 7,000 tonnes of coal every day as against its requirement of 17,000 tonnes. The coal crunch forced the station to shut one of its unit. The remaining two units were generating less than 1,000 MW on Sunday as against their combined capacity of 1,200 MW.

“The shortfall of coal forced us to shut a unit. If the present supply of coal too stops, we would be forced to shut the remaining two units as well,” S. Mrutyunjaya, executive director of the BTPS, told The Hindu.

Enquiries revealed that the limited coal supply was being shared between the BTPS and the RTPS as separate coal linkage to the BTPS is embroiled in some legal issues.

The KPCL has established coal linkages to its thermal stations by entering into agreements with three suppliers — Singareni Collieries Company Ltd., Telangana; Western Coalfields Ltd., Maharashtra; and Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd., Odisha. Though it is not clear what exactly caused the reduction in coal production, sources in the KPCL attribute it to labourers’ agitations and heavy rain in mining areas.

The reduction in the power generation is likely to increase stress on hydel stations.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:48:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/coal-crunch-hits-thermal-power-generation/article20557326.ece

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