DARKNESS LOOMS LARGE OVER ORISSA POWER SECTOR

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In these pages on March 7, 2006 captioned Dark Days Ahead, we had presaged, if the preening prince of Bijudom continues his high sounding brags of industrialization without concentrating on generation, Orissa would soon be pushed into a power famine. And thereafter, in these pages, we have been discussing this issue in-depth wherein eminent electrical engineers and power-management experts have also participated and warned the State Government of severe energy crisis if the Government does not rise to the occasion. But Chief Minister Navin Patnaik has failed to rise. Not a single MW of power has been generated extra during his entire incumbency.

Darkness now looms large over Orissa power sector.

As we dig out, the Central Government has on several occasions also cautioned the State of the impending disaster. In letter No.301 dated 25.01.2008 addressed to the Energy Secretary of Orissa, the Central Ministry of Power has pointed out that Orissa may face a peak shortage of 262 MW and energy shortage of 1574 MU in the year 2011-12 in spite of receipt of about 429 MW additional power from Central Sector Generating Stations during XI Plan which includes 49 MW from Kahalgaon Stage-II, 108 MW from Farakka Stage-III, 57 MW from Barh Stage –II, 108 MW from Navin Nagar JV and 107 MW from Teesta – V.

In this communication the Central Ministry has pointed out that capacity addition of only 150 MW from Balimela Extension Unit – 7 & 8 and the State’s share of 600 MW would likely be available from 2400 MW Thermal Plant of Sterlite Energy Ltd. during XI Plan period. As Unit 7 & 8 of Balimela Hydro-Electric Project will not add to design energy of Balimela Power House, the capacity addition of 600 MW is only expected during XI Plan period. Either augment the generation capacity or to tie up with surplus States of NR, WR, ER & NER to tackle the Power shortage situation around 2011-12, it has advised.

Orissa has launched massive Rural Electrification works under Rajeev Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), Biju Gram Jyoti Yojana (BGJY) and Gopabandhu Gramina Yojana (GGY) in order to electrify all the balance 19858 villages of the State under grid connected route by 2009 and to provide power supply to additional 68 lakhs of consumers by 2012 under “ MISSION 2012” and is also slated to meet the Power requirement to 61 nos. of Industries that have signed M.O.U with State Govt. to set up electro- metallurgical industries. The energy that they need will not come out of Navin’s magic wand. It has to be generated.

Rising to our presage referred to supra, the then CMD of GRIDCO through his immediate D.O letter to Orissa’s energy Secretary had stressed setting up both Thermal and Hydel projects by IPPs.

The Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) in their letter No.398 dated 10.03.2006 also advised the State Government. invoking Section 86 (2) of the Act to take appropriate steps for capacity addition through green-field and brown-field expansion projects so that the State can continue to maintain a comfortable power position to meet the up-coming Industrial as well as Rural Electrification loads under RGGVY & BGJY during XI Plan. Mention may be made of its letter No.812 dated 20.05.2005 that also had stressed on the matter.

Under such pressures the Government of course in two spells signed 13 MoUs for capacity addition of about 16190 MW at an estimated cost of Rs 68299 Crores in 2006. But it has failed to manage the environment for execution of these MoUs in right earnest.

Even as the scenario stayed stagnated the OERC posted a fresh advice vide letter No.988, dated 20.06.2007 analyzing the power requirement of the State up to 2014-15 as projected by CEA.

According to this analysis, availability of power from all sources in a year of normal rainfall was around 18212 MU with peaking capacity of 3000 MW, which was barely sufficient to meet the current demand.

Observing that Orissa has reached a break neck situation with regard to Demand and Supply of power due to no addition of generation capacity after commission of UIHEP in FY 2001 the OERC made it clear that unless the Government takes appropriate initiatives in a timely manner for generating stations to be established by the IPPs and such other future units ( which take time to be erected and Commissioned), the State may not be able to meet the demand for power . A bad monsoon will be ruinous for the State’s economy, which called for sufficient spinning reserve to maintain continuity of supply of electricity. It also stressed that appropriate steps should be taken for completion of brown –field projects like expansion of Ib Thermal Power Station and for early implementation of projects by IPPs so that the State can continue to meet the upcoming loads on account of Industries and the Rural Electrical Network.

Orissa Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC) has reassessed its design energy of all hydel power stations viz Balimela, Upper Kolab, Indravati, Rengali and Hirakud Power House and has filed before the OERC and CEA for approval to reduce the design energy per annum from 5676 MU to 4904 MU, which is about 13.6 % of the present design energy.

The OERC while admitting the applications of GRIDCO for approval of 13 Nos. PPAs for proposed Thermal Stations vide interim order dated 30.10.2008 has remarked that the State of Orissa would be requiring a capacity addition of about 4500 MW to cater to the peak demand of 5812 MW in FY 2014-15 as projected by CEA in its 17th Electric Power Survey (EPS).

But the dismal performance of these IPPs/ private developers interested to set up Thermal Power Plants in Orissa has led the Commission to believe that Orissa may face both energy and peak shortage by end of 2011-12. The power scenario may be far worse in those water years when the monsoon rainfall would be deficient.

At Para – 10 (iii) of Minutes of the Conference of Chief Secretaries of States / UTs on Power Sector Issues held on 19.02.2008 at New Delhi, the Central Government’s Secretary (Power) had remarked that the Orissa needed to ensure that anti-competitive arrangements are curbed for ensuring unrestricted flow of electricity.

According to information at his hand, he had pointed out, about 400 MW surplus power from Captive Plant was available in Orissa which could flow to her grid if open access was allowed on payment of reasonable cross subsidy, wheeling and transmission charges.

But the State Government has so far not taken due steps to harness even this available energy.

The OERC vide Order dated 14.03.2008 have already issued guidelines on pricing of surplus power to be harnessed from Captive Generating Plants (CGPs) of the State for consumption inside the State / trading outside the State. Immediate benefit could be obtained by harnessing surplus power from CGPs for benefit of the State, which is now assessed as more than 500 MW from Sterlite Energy, Hindalco, Bhusan Steel and Energy, Nav Bharat, ICCL, NINL, Arati, IFFCO etc. But the Government is yet to wake up.

Even as through Notification dated 21.06.2008 the State Government has accepted the recommendations of the Task Force Constituted to resolve the disputes relating to Pricing and sale of Power from Unit I & II of OPGC and advised OPGC to withdraw the Special Leave Petition filed before Supreme Court to file the amended Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and Tariff filing before OERC, the OPGC, despite elapse of long six months, has neither withdrawn the SLP nor filed the Tariff and PPA before OERC. It has also failed to start its brown- field expansion of Unit 3 &4 of 600 MW each as mentioned in Govt. Notification. Navin is yet to understand the intricacies of this negligence / reluctance.

On the other hand, the CMD of NTPC during his last visit to Orissa in the first week of January 2009 has indicated that NTPC has decided to go for brown-field expansion of 2×660 MW at Talcher Thermal Power Station (TTPS). As NTPC has the necessary expertise to put up such brown-field projects within a gestation period of 28/30 months, the Govt. of Orissa may impress upon NTPC to take up this brown-field project at TTPS on priority so that this NTPC power can be available from TTPS by end 2011 for 100% consumption by Orissa Consumers. Experts opine that the State Government should make the NTPC know very clearly that unless they take up its expansion at TTPS by 2009, no State Clearance would be given for their two proposed Green-field Projects of 3300 MW at Gajamara & Darlipalli. As is its wont, the State Government sits nonchalant even on this.

Alternate Hydro Electric Centre (AHEC) of IIT, Roorkee have identified 206 Nos. of sites in the State of Orissa for development of Small Hydro Electric Projects (SHEPs) with installed capacity of 217.99 MW out of which only 7 Nos. of such SHEPs of about 77 MW are under different stages of development at present. This tardiness is not the fault of the IIT, but of the State Government.

Experts in Power Sector visualize that due to complete inaction of the State Government for over a decade from 1997 to 2008 to establish either brown-field expansion or green-field generation projects, Orissa although endowed with 23% of the country’s power grade coal and 10% of annual surface water flow, despite investment possibility of over Rs.5 lakh crores, will be with the begging bowl for power from 2009 onwards resorting to statutory power cut in all industries and area load shedding and will ultimately plunge into power-famine from the year 2011 onwards.

In view of this emerging disaster, Chief Minister Navin Patnaik should immediately drop his Energy Minister S. N.Patra for his anarchical incompetence and address himself to constituting a Task Force in the pattern of War Council functioning during war time to monitor the impending power shortage scenario and should take the following actions to meet the immediate requirement, the short-term requirement and the long term requirement of energy in the State till 2014-15 as projected by CEA in its 17th Electric Power Survey Report.

In view of the impending darkness, the following suggestions are stressed upon:

(a) immediate action for harnessing of surplus / bottled up power of 500 MW and above CGPs of the State;

(b) immediate commencement of brown-field expansion projects of 2 x 600 MW at Ib Thermal Power Station by OPGC and 2 x 660 MW at Talcher Thermal Power Station by NTPC;

(c) financial closure by all the IPPs (excepting Sterlite Energy Ltd.) by 31.03.2009 proposing to set up Thermal Power Projects in the State and commencement of project works from April, 2009;

(d) putting up of a strong claim before Ministry of Power, Govt. of India for additional allocation of about 1000 MW from 15% unallocated quota of Talcher STPS Stage-I and Stage-II, Farraka STPS Stage-I & Stage-II, and Barh Stage-I & Stage-II for Orissa besides the committed additional allocation of 429 MW from Central Sector Generating Stations of Eastern Region during XI Plan period and

(e) matching transmission network by Transmission Company OPTCL for evacuation of the aforesaid power to various load centers on war-footing.

Will Navin stop playing his hoodwinking tricks and rise to the occasion?

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