TAMIL NADU

Road map soon for north Chennai power project

CHENNAI JUNE 26. Nearly a year after the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board and the National Thermal Power Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding for a power project in north Chennai, the process of drawing up a road map is to be set in motion shortly.

On June 30, the inaugural meeting of the Board of Directors of the NTPC-Tamil Nadu Energy Company, a special purpose vehicle (SPV) floated by the two power utilities, will be held in New Delhi. The Central utility's chairman is also likely to take part.

Specifics of project implementation are likely to come up for discussion, says a senior NTPC official.

The plant will have a capacity of 1,000 MW with two machines of 500 MW each. Coal will be the basic fuel for this plant, which may utilise the infrastructure at the Ennore port. An investment of approximately Rs. 5,000 crores is required and the project cost will be shared by the NTPC and the TNEB on a 50:50 basis.

Three senior officers each from the NTPC and the TNEB have been nominated to the Board of Directors. "However, the SPV will be headed by one of the NTPC's representatives", the official says.

At present, site investigation and survey is on. It is expected to be over in a month.

Thereafter, a feasibility study will have to be undertaken and it will take a year. Only on completion of the study, can execution begin.

As a minimum of four years is required for installing a unit, a conservative assessment reveals that that the first unit of the project can be commissioned only by 2008 or 2009.

The NTPC has a track record of sticking to deadlines in project execution and in some cases, it even completed the work ahead of the timeframe. "Next week's meeting may give a broad outline in this regard", the official notes.

Asked whether the Central utility, in the light of its completing the first stage of the Simhadri thermal project in a record 36 months, can ensure quicker implementation of the north Chennai project, the official said the spadework had been completed before the NTPC took up the project in Simhadri.

(Subsequently, the Corporation synchronised a unit in Kaniha, Orissa, in 34 months).

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