Chhattisgarh has embarked on a plan to become a leading power producer in India, signing 61 deals with independent power producers (IPPs) to generate about 50,000 MW of electricity, an official said Monday.
The coal-fired power projects will come up in northern Chhattisgarh, a coal-rich belt, on a total investment of around Rs.250,000 crore.
'The government has signed 61 MoUs (memoranda of understanding),' said Special Secretary (energy) Aman Singh.
'These are IPPs. Of these proposals, at least 30,000 MW would be added in the next seven years on an investment of Rs.150,000 crore,' Singh told IANS.
Several power producers have identified the project land. On its part, the state government has assured them of help in ensuring coal-linkages and requirements such as steady water supply.
The official said that as per the agreement with the IPPs, the power producers will have to supply 7.5 percent of its total generation to the state government as cost of 'energy charges' -- the actual fuel cost for power production -- for the allotted coal blocks, or 5 percent of the power if they were given coal-linkages.
Singh said more private power producers had evinced interest in signing deals to set up plants in the state that boasts of an estimated 18-20 percent of India's coal reserves.
State-owned power utility NTPC, formerly National Thermal Power Corp, signed an agreement in July for setting up a 4,000 MW coal-fired power plant on an outlay commitment of Rs.20,000 crore.
The project, which would need 30,000 hectares, will have five 800 MW units and will come up in Raigarh district.
Chhattisgarh, which currently produces 1,923.85 MW of electricity, claims to be India's first power cut-free state.
It implemented a scheme from Oct 2 to provide free power to farmers who use irrigation pumps up to 5hp. The scheme will cost the state exchequer an estimated Rs.150 crore annually.