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Bigger unit hinges on report

Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd has asked for a technical feasibility report from NTPC as to whether a 660MW plant could be set up at Muzaffarpur Thermal Power Station in place of 500MW.

“We have sought a technical feasibility report as to whether or not a 660MW plant could be set up on the Muzaffarpur Thermal Power Station (MTPS) premises without incurring any additional cost or requirement of a huge tract of land,” a power official said.

Sources said if there is a minor cost escalation by a few crores and huge land acquisition is not required, then the 550MW plant could be converted into a 660MW plant at the same site. Sources said the major hurdle for constructing any big thermal power plant at Muzaffarpur was the civil aviation ministry’s objection to raise the height of the plant’s chimney. But now the ministry has paved the way for a super critical thermal power plant of 660MW.

On November 17, 2013, the then chief minister Nitish Kumar, while dedicating a 110MW unit, had announced that a 500MW plant would be set up at the MTPS premises, in association with the NTPC.

Even Nitish wanted a 660MW super critical thermal power plant at MTPS but the idea was shelved, as it would have required shifting to another technology and more land, which would have taken a few more years. But the power company is now once again trying to explore the possibility of such a super critical plant at MTPS.

The MTPS plant is owned by KBUNL, a joint venture firm between NTPC and Bihar State Power (Holding) Company Ltd.

The MTPS plant assumes significance as five units of different capacities would generate more than 1,000MW.

It has two units of 110MW each currently under renovation and modernisation process and construction of other two units of 195MW each is underway. The fifth plant (500MW), under planning stage, was announced by Nitish in November 2013.

The MTPS unit I was commissioned on March 31, 1985, while the second was commiss ioned on March 17, 1986. Both units were shut down since October 2003. Of the two being renovated and modernised by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, unit I started generation from November 2013, while unit II would start production by August or September 2014.

Construction work of two units of 195MW each being constructed under expansion plan at MTPS would be completed by the end of 2014. The generation in the second unit under renovation and modernisation and other plants would help the state in reducing dependency on power allocation from the central sector.

The state has been drawing 220 to 2,300MW of power against its peak demand of around 3000MW in summer. It gets, on an average, around 1,500 to 1,600MW against its scheduled allocation of 1,985MW from the central sector.

Bihar also purchases around 300 to 400MW from the open market besides getting 110MW from its own source from MTPS. The state government has set a target of providing at least 3,000MW in summer.