Kerala

LNG the answer?

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Proposals have been drawn up to generate more than 4,000 MW using LNG.

Pragmatic and optimum use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) has been mooted as a panacea for the grave energy crunch gripping the State.

A note prepared by Public Sector Restructuring and Internal Audit Board (RIAB) chairman M.P. Sukumaran Nair details the way how extensive use of natural gas could be a game changer in the State’s power sector. About 35% of the State’s power needs are met by thermal plants and 80% of the plants are powered by liquid fuel. This heavy reliance on liquid fuel makes the generation cost one of the highest in the country. The cost as well as pollution could be reined in by switching over to natural gas, the note says.

Proposals have been drawn up to generate more than 4,000 MW using LNG. The following are the key projects that are expected to give a major fillip to the power generation plans of the State:

Kayamkulam Plant

The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is planning to set up a 1,050-MW gas-based plant at Kayamkulam. Gas Authority of India Ltd. (GAIL) has already secured the nod to lay the sub-sea pipelines for the project and also connect the existing naphtha plant to gas and to further enhance the plant’s capacity by 350 MW so that its total capacity would be 1,800 MW.

Cheemeni

The government is gearing up to set up a 1,100-1,200-MW gas-based power plant at Cheemeni in Kasaragod with the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) as the nodal agency. A special purpose vehicle has been formed and land has been allocated for the project. The government has requested the Centre for allocation of gas so that it could get gas at affordable rates.

Puthuvypeen

Petronet LNG is planning to set up a 1,200-MW plant, integrated with the LNG terminal, for harnessing the available energy to improve the performance of the generation process. The government has accorded in-principle sanction for allocating 125 acres of land for the project.

Brahmapuram

KSEB Ltd. has prepared plans to set up a 1,000 MW gas-based plant to replace the diesel plant.

“Once the availability and accessibility to gas increases, the market for gas-based appliances would also witness a boom. For instance, Gujarat Gas, which operates in India’s most advanced gas markets, has already developed appliances catering to specific industries. The same could be replicated in Kerala. It can be used directly in geysers, air conditioners and refrigerators. Natural-gas-based appliances consume 30 to 50% lesser energy than those driven by electricity and are maintenance-free since they have no compressors and moving parts,” he says and points out that the life of such appliances is much longer than that of the conventional electric systems. Natural gas-based chillers and dehumidifiers would also find a ready market in the State, he adds.

Industrial sector

Kochi, the State’s industrial capital, alone has around 700 units in various sectors such as rubber, plastics, chemicals and petrochemicals that use liquid fuel for heating, cooling and power generation. All these units could switch over to natural gas-based power plants and use it as a feedstock, besides using it for heating and cooling processes. The increased gas availability will give a major boost to the proposed Kochi-Coimbatore industrial corridor.

Gas could be used for decentralised power generation and companies can use it for their captive generation units. Combined heating, cooling and power (CHCP) systems, where the heat produced during power generation is used for heating and cooling requirements, could be installed in industrial facilities and commercial establishments for power generation. Gas-run generators are more economical than those driven by diesel and also as back-up devices such as inverters. They offer an economical and convenient back-up power solution to commercial establishments. Gas-based fuel cells have the potential to deliver clean, dependable power, wherever it is needed, he says.

There is not one sector that would not gain from the use of gas. All major areas that offer substantial inputs for the growth and development of the economy such as transportation, fertilizer production, bakeries, steel foundries, hotels, food chains, dehumidifiers, tea processing, cold chains, construction, manufacturing of testing and safety equipment and a legion of others stand to benefit from the application of gas-based technology, he says.

But the State would also have to promote the high-end versions to reap the optimum advantage of a gas-based economy. Only the extensive use of natural gas in such applications help the gas ecosystem attain volumes that would provide them with economies of scale. The government’s initiative to expedite the pipe-laying process and put in place a constant monitoring and trouble-shooting mechanism should help the State attain self-reliance in power, he says.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 6:28:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/lng-the-answer/article19699572.ece

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