theindialog

November 17, 2009

Power(less)

Filed under: Industry,Maharashtra — loggers @ 9:49 am

In addition to visiting an underground coal mine outside Chandrapur, we also had the opportunity to visit the more modern and less labor intensive open cast mines. Named so because they are carved out from the earth and left open to the skies, these mines can be blasted to a limit of a few tons, compared with only a 7kg blast that we experienced in the underground mine. These blasts take place once every 2-3 days as the coal mined per blast is much higher and it takes time to be removed by the trucks[1]. Licenses to operate these mines are only given to those companies who utilize the coal to generate power for the state grid.

Open Cast Mine

The Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS) is one such plant that receives some of its coal supply directly from these mines, part of its daily requirement of 60,000 tons. Considered to be one of the largest power plants in Asia with an installed capacity of 2,340MW, it has also planned an expansion for additional 1,000MW of generation capability. With its (and the coal mines) location not very far from the city centre, it is not surprising that pollution levels are so dangerously high.

Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station

Come January though, this plant could become a victim of the water shortages that have been affecting a large part of the Vidarbha region. With not enough rainfall this year, everything from farming to drinking water to power generation has been indirectly affected. However, completely shutting down this plant would amount to a power shortage catastrophe across a state that already has a deficit of 4,000MW[2]. Although private power generators such as KSK Energy and the Adani group have announced plans to install more capacity, these are not expected to be online within the next couple of years. The government is expected to tap its reserves by opening up one of its dams in order to prevent a complete shutdown, but at no point has our power deficiency been more glaring than here.


[1] These trucks can be used only on the roads around the mine, and not on public roads

 

[2] Power requirements of Maharashtra amount to 15,000MW, compared to installed capacity of 11,000MW

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1 Comment »

  1. If you remember, Narendra Modi had mentioned to us in our meeting with him that there was a 2000 MW shortage in Gujarat, yet there were no power cuts in Gujurat cities and towns (or something to that effect), due to innovation in transmission systems. How is Maharashtra, with its 4000MW, dealing with power management, in comparison? Will you be meeting someone who can maybe shed light on the same?

    Comment by Yash — November 18, 2009 @ 6:07 pm | Reply


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