Bihar power officials, however, allayed fears of any power shortage following the power firm’s decision to surrender 854 MW.
PATNA : The Bihar State Power Holding Company Limited (BSPHCL) has served notice to the National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd (NTPC) to surrender its 854 MW thermal power out of the state’s central allocation of 6,560 MW, said state power officials.
The BSPHCL seeks the de-allocation of 854 MW power from NTPC super thermal power plants (STPPs) in Kahalgaon of Bihar’s Bhagalpur district and Farakka in West Bengal from October 13, as per the mandatory six-month notice on April 16.
The decision follows power regulator Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (BERC)’s nod, allowing the BSPHCL to exit from the 25-year-old power purchase agreement (PPA); the then unbundled Bihar State Electricity Board had with the Kahalgaon and Farakka STPPs. The ministry of power (MoP) allows termination of PPAs 25 years or older, said officials.
Bihar’s power allocation from Kahalgaon (stage I) is 351.6 MW and 502.4 MW from Farakka (stage I) STPP.
State power officials, however, allayed fears of any power shortage following the power firm’s decision to surrender 854 MW.
“We will get between 1,300 MW and 1,400 MW by December this year from the existing PPAs through new and upcoming thermal power plants of the NTPC in North Karanpura (Chatra district of Jharkhand) and in Barh (Patna district), besides one of SJVNL in Chausa (Buxar district),” said Mahendra Kumar, managing director of the South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (SBPDCL) and the Bihar State Power Generation Company Limited (BSPGCL).
“Going by the power purchase cost optimisation rationale, we’ve taken the decision to terminate old PPAs. The cost of purchasing power from the two thermal power plants of NTPC would be more than the renewable energy sources we are trying to tap as part of our commitment to green energy,” Kumar said.
“The state is committed to meet 40% of its total power requirement through renewable energy by 2030-31. As of now, 15% of its power requirement is met through renewable energy that was almost at par with the Centre’s present target of renewable purchase obligation (RPO) for the state,” he said.
“We have new RPOs to meet through hydro, wind, and solar power, besides pump and battery storage plants. Unless we exit from old PPAs of thermal plants, we will not be able to fulfil our commitment through renewable energy,” added Kumar.
“Once commissioned, the average per unit power purchase cost from renewable sources will be between ₹2.60 and ₹3.14, depending on the location, whereas it is around ₹4.19 from the two thermal power plants of Kahalgaon and Farakka,” he said.
The average per unit cost of purchasing power from NTPC Kahalgaon plant was ₹4.13 and ₹4.19 from the Farakka plant. However, the per unit power purchase cost was ₹4.02 from the NTPC North Karanpura (unit I). The difference in unit cost was because of the low transportation cost, as the North Karanpura thermal power plant was a “pit-head power station”, located near the coal mine in Tandwa block of Chatra district in Jharkhand, said an NTPC official.
On the state’s recent request for 300 MW additional power to the Centre, in light of its decision to surrender 854 MW, Kumar said, “We have made the request for 300 MW additional power from the Centre only during peak hours in summer (April to July) when our peak load demand goes up, and not to allow scheduled maintenance of NTPC plants during this period. We will surrender our share of 854 MW to the NTPC in mid-October when our demand begins to go down,” the MD said.
Gujarat has already evinced interest in the power Bihar will surrender.
“We will transfer to Gujarat the power that Bihar surrenders as the western state has sought an additional 1,500 MW from the Central sectors. It is rare to get thermal power cheaper than the per unit cost of ₹4.19, which we were supplying to Bihar through our plant in Farakka,” said the NTPC official.