Odisha and Kerala are set to tie up for setting up a 1,000 MW pit-head coal-fired power plant close to the Baitarani west coal block under Talcher coalfields in Angul district. The power project is estimated to cost Rs 4,500 - Rs 5000 crore.
The Baitarani west coal block with reserve of 600 million tonnes has been jointly allocated to Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC), Gujarat Power Corporation (GPC) and Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).
“OHPC and KSEB may forge a joint venture for setting up the power plant but the specifics are yet to be worked out. Site selection for the proposed coal-based plant is also pending but we are interested in putting up a pit-head plant to cut coal transportation cost,” said an official source. Earlier KSEB’s plan to establish a power plant in Odisha had got the cold shoulder from the state government. Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik had even written to the Coal ministry in January this year, stating that allocation of the Baitarani west coal block to KSEB was unjustified.
“Use of imported coal from Indonesia will be a more appropriate proposition for Kerala, particularly when the ongoing power projects in Odisha are not able to get their coal requirement. Alternatively, Kerala may avail power through wheeling power from any of the ongoing MoU (memorandum of understanding) signed power plants in Odisha. Hence, allocation of Baitarani west coal block from Talcher coalfields to KSEB should be cancelled,” Patnaik had stated to coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal.
But of late, the Odisha government has responded positively to KSEB’s proposal to set up a power plant through the joint route.
It may be noted that Chennai-based Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd (NLC), a navratna PSU has also evinced interest in setting up a 2,000 MW coal-fired power plant in Odisha through a joint venture with a state government owned PSU. The proposed power plant envisages an investment of around Rs 10,000 crore. Though the exact location for this power plant is yet to be decided, NLC prefers to put up the plant in the vicinity of its allocated coal blocks-Talabira-2 and Talabira-3 situated under the command area of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL).
The Odisha government has inked MoUs with 29 independent power producers (IPPs) for setting up coal-based power plants with combined power producing capacity totaling to 37,000 MW.