Shahi wants new power plant next to Dabhol

Vol 9, PW 2 (04 May 05) Midstream & Downstream

Power secretary RV Shahi has created a stir at the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) with a new proposal for the ill-fated former Enron-owned Dabhol power plant.

During a western region performance review last month Shahi suggested to chairman Jayant Kawle that the board engage a private company to develop a major power project adjacent to the disused plant. We were shocked to hear this, a MSEB official tells PETROWATCH.

Dabhol and its revival plans continue to haunt us day and night and the power ministry are asking us to look for a private developer for a new project! The power secretary has asked MSEB to issue an internationally competitive tender for the new project by July 2005 but the final decision on any new plant rests with officials at MSEB in Mumbai. Like other Indian states, Maharashtra is currently hit by severe electricity shortages, prompting power ministry officials in Delhi to argue that the request merits serious consideration.

We have suggested a capacity of about 2000-MW for a gas based project near Dabhol so that the (adjacent) LNG terminal can be used to the full, said an official. Shahi, we are told, made this point during the review meeting with Jayant Kawle and said it would be an easier option, given that associated LNG infrastructure is already in place.

Also discussed during the meeting was a power ministry request to MSEB to select a project developer for its proposed gas-based 1400-MW power project in Talegoan. Contacted by this report, a MSEB source was not particularly upbeat about the prospect.

This project has been on MSEBs list for last several years, he said. Lets see what we can do this time.

During the meeting, Kawle added that the board planned to add new units to expand capacity in each of its coal-fired plants in Bhusawal (500-MW) Parli (250-MW) and Paras (250-MW).