Diwali reminder of India's electricity hunger

Vol 14, PW 10 (04 Nov 10) Midstream & Downstream

Coloured electric lights will be switched on in millions of Indian homes on November 5 to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali.

They are also a stark reminder of India’s growing hunger for affordable power. PETROWATCH learns the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) is recommending over 15m cm/d of gas allocations for seven under-construction gas-fired power projects, set for commissioning by March 31, 2012.

The CEA, we hear, has submitted a ‘status’ report to the power ministry after visiting projects that could be ready during the current five-year plan from 2007 to 2012. Five of the seven projects recommended are in Andhra Pradesh: Reliance Infrastructure’s 2400-MW Samalkot project; an 800-MW stage-III expansion at the GVK Industries Jegurupadu station; an 800-MW stage-II expansion at the Gautami station, also promoted by GVK; a 100-MW project promoted by Panduranga Energy; and a 436-MW station promoted by RVK Energy.

Gas allocation is also recommended for two Torrent Power projects in Gujarat: the 382.5-MW Sugen station expansion and the under-construction 1200-MW Dahej SEZ station. Site visits and documents from promoter companies helped the CEA make its decisions.

Yet the CEA stresses that the recommended projects can be commissioned in time only if equipment suppliers stick to their delivery schedules and power transmission lines are constructed soon. CEA officials also visited the site of a proposed 1050-MW Phase-II expansion at the Gujarat Paguthan Energy Corporation (GPEC) station at Paguthan in Gujarat.

But it did not recommend the station for a gas allocation. This is because GPEC has not ordered crucial ‘long-lead’ equipment yet, meaning that just 350-MW of the proposed expansion can be commissioned by 2012.

For its part, GPEC refuses to order long-lead equipment without assured gas supplies. If the oil ministry were to immediately confirm a gas allocation, adds the CEA, GPEC could theoretically commission the entire Paguthan project in time.

But that’s highly unlikely..


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