Punjab may phase out old power plants, replace with modern units

In a major shift in policy regarding enhancing the working capacity of its power plants, the Punjab government has reviewed its decision to renovate and modernise aged thermal power plants units. Instead of spending crores on renovation of two of its oldest power plants in Bathinda and Ropar, the government is looking at the possibility of gradually phasing out the older units out and replacing them with modern technology units of the same or more capacity.

The government had undertaken the renovation and modernisation of the four units of Guru Nanak Dev Thermal plant in Bathinda but found it to be an expensive venture. While the original cost of the project was about Rs 115 crore, the renovation and maintenance cost is likely to touch Rs 700 crore.

Each of its four units has a capacity of 110 MW. Its foundation was laid way back in 1969 and is the oldest power plant in the state. While the first unit here was commissioned in September, 1974, the others were subsequently commissioned in September, 1975, March, 1978 and the last one in January, 1979.

The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) website states that these units have completed more than their designed life span of 25 years and are being renovated and modernised in a phased manner to restore the original capacity of the units and upgrading the capacity from 110MW to 120 MW for units 3 and 4.

The project would also improve plant availability or load factor and extend the life of the units by 15 to 20 years. It would also enhance the operational efficiency and safety and remove ash pollution and to meet up environment standards.

The renovation of units 1 and 2 has already been completed and are running at nearly full capacity of 110 MW. "The third units is also back on track and from 80 MW, its capacity has increased to 120 MW. Unit 4 is under renovation and maintenance since November 2011," said K D Chaudhry, PSPCL CMD.

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