J&K to set up its first thermal plant in Odisha

J&K to set up its first thermal plant in Odisha

State PDC to build the project as joint venture with NTPC

In coming years, J&K might get a breather from long and unscheduled power cuts, especially during winter, as the government of India has given the State Power Development Corporation (PDC) a green signal for setting up its first thermal power plant in Odisha.

Considered to be a reliable source of energy, particularly during winters, thermal power is cheaper than hydropower, which is the main source of energy for J&K.

The J&K PDC has expertise in hydropower generation but its availability becomes an issue during winters when discharge in state rivers falls drastically.

“Though these are still initial days but clearance to the project is a great step forward in thermal sector,” said a PDC official.

He said the corporation would be setting up the project as joint venture with the National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd (NTPC), the pioneer in thermal power generation.

Once completed, the energy from the plant would go to the grid maintained by the union power ministry and through an internal arrangement the state would draw its share of power from the plant from the northern grid.

Scheduled for completion in six years, the 660-MW project would be set up near the pit head (the immediate surroundings) of a 130 million-tonne coal mine in Kundanli-Luburi that was allocated to the state by union coal ministry in July 2013 for 25 years.

Jammu and Kashmir is a hydropower generating state with a potential of around 20,000 MW on different rivers. But so far, the state – with energy requirement of 3000 MW – has been able to harness only 1210 MW of hydropower from about 22 projects. It imports the rest from outside to meet the shortfall.

The Odisha plant would be the first major thermal power project to be owned by the state after a mini coal-based energy plant operated by JK Minerals in coal rich Kalakote was shut down a long ago.

Ifthikar Drabu, who has been working in power sector for many years, said the clearance to the project was a welcome step.

Compared to the hydropower, he said the thermal power generation was cheap and dependable. He said there was an advantage for the state government with this project as it would be developed in Odisha and hence there won’t be any environmental issues involved in transportation of coal and its burning.

“It is a win-win situation for the state,” he said.

Setting up the project in the state would have also cost the state financially, with Rs 700-crore additional net impact that would have touched Rs 20,000 crore during lifetime of the project.

The PDC has now written to the administrative department to speed up constitution of the Board of Directors for the joint venture company with the NTPC.