HYDERABAD: NTPC, the country’s biggest power generator, is close to completing due diligence to acquire select power assets, including stressed ones.
“We are open to acquisition of power assets which have fuel linkages and power purchase agreements and are in talks with lenders. These also include some stressed assets,” said VC Anand, Executive Director (Operations).
Speaking on the sidelines of a CII Summit here, the NTPC official told BusinessLine, “The due diligence process is now underway and we expect to finalise some buys, provided they fit our requirement. We are working closely with lenders to large power assets and assessing the right fit as challenges of fuel supply be it coal or natural gas continue to cause concern.”
NTPC currently has an installed capacity of 51,651 MW and expects to add about 20,000 MW in three-four years. By then the renewable energy sector is expected to grow significantly, posing challenges of their integration and grid management. Earlier, bundling was an option, but with tariffs for renewables (both wind and solar) falling, this would not work, he said.
“We are facing the challenge of lower load operation and falling demand coupled with rapid growth of the renewable energy sector. This calls for management of assets, that is, ramping up and cutting output at short notice. This impacts the performance of the power plants, its installations,” he explained.
Citing the example of Pavagada in Karnataka and Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, he said that huge parks coming up there also provide some challenges of managing peak and low demands.
Many NTPC plants have the capacity to function at 100 per cent plant load factor, but the demand-supply situation and the growth of the renewables and the relatively slow demand growth have all forced us to “flexibilisation” of our plant management,” Anand said.
The country has installed capacity of 3,60,000 MW and the peak demand hovers at 160,000-1,70,000 MW forcing thermal power plants to back down when the demand drops. “This has forced us to run our plants at capacity ranging from high PLFs to a low of 60 per cent,” he said.
Alok Srivastava, General Manager, NTPC, said, “To address this we have commissioned a pilot study at Unchahar, Simhadri and Dadri power projects to come up with a model to manage them when the demand from renewable surges or drops. This can be replicated in other projects.”