Uncertainity looms over Country's first ultra mega power project

Mundra power project was expected to commence within four months

prasanna

Prasanna Mohanty | November 4, 2011



The first Ultra Mega Power Project of the country at Mundra in Gujarat is facing uncertainty even though the central transmission utility PowerGrid Corporation of India (PGCIL) commissioned the transmission system for evacuation of power on September 29, 2011. PowerGrid is likely to approach sector regulator Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) for recovering the cost incurred in setting up the transmission network for Tata Power's 4,000 MW Mundra ultra mega power project in Gujarat, which is yet to start production.

An official from PowerGrid not willing to be quoted said that the CERC may penalise Tata Power for not commissioning the project even after the completion of the transmission lines.

PowerGrid Corporation has connected the Mundra project to the National Grid and the first 800 MW unit of the (5x800 MW) plant is likely to commence electricity supply within the next four months.

When asked about the commissioning date of the project, a PowerGrid official said, "We have completed the transmission network on time, now it’s up to Tata Power to commence it."

The line is ready to evacuate power from two units of Mundra UMPP (2X800 MW) in normal condition and more than 1,200 MW in the contingency.

The system commissioned consists of high capacity Mundra-Bachau-Ranchodpura 400 kv Double circuit line along with 630 MVA Bachau 400/220 kv sub-station.

Also Due to unprecedented rise in the global coal prices and high cost of credit in domestic market the future of Mundra project is facing difficulties.

“Mundra transmission network has been completed on time despite challenging conditions with lines passing through creek area, severe right of way problems, and excessive water logging due to unprecedented rains,” says a PowerGrid official. The PowerGrid official also says that the final approval to lay transmission lines over a wild life sanctuary was given to them very late (August 3).

"About 770 circuit kilometre transmission line has been commissioned in challenging conditions like passing through tough terrains in creek area of Arabian sea... Excessive water logging due to heavy rains, etc," said an official.

PowerGrid on its part has commissioned the first phase of the transmission system for evacuation of power from country’s first ultra mega power project at Mundra in Gujarat and going ahead to complete work on other two transmission lines connected with the UMPP by December.

“We have commissioned about 770ckm of transmission lines which will be dedicated for the UMPP and help it evacuate power from two 800 mw units. Remaining transmission lines will also be completed in time providing lines that could carry up to 5000 mw of power," said DS Singh, Power Grid Executive Director (Western Region II).

PGCIL is set to lay transmission network for more Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPP) even though the fate of the Mundra Power project remains uncertain. PGCIL has plans to invest over Rs 20,000 crore in developing transmission networks for all the UMPPs. “We are all set to deliver on time. As an agency mandated to lay transmission line we believe in serving on time.”

So far government has awarded four UMPPs at Mundra, Sasan, Krishnapatnam and Tilaiya. Government has mandated PowerGrid to setup transmission network for evacuation of power from all UMPPs. Out of Rs 20000 crore proposed investment 8000 cr-9000cr would be spent in 11th Five Year plan and remaining amount in 12th plan when most of the UMPPs would be commissioned.

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