State-run NTPC will invest about Rs 20,000 crore to set up a 3,960-megawatt (Mw) coal-based power project in Madhya Pradesh. NTPC had signed a memorandum of understanding with the state government and MP Power Trading Company regarding this, the company said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
The 6x660-Mw plant would be set up near Barethi in Chhatarpur district for the benefit of the Bundelkhand region, the company said.
The project is likely to be commissioned during the Twelfth Five-Year Plan Period (2012-17). NTPC currently generates over 32,000 Mw, of which nearly 60 per cent is coal-based. It plans to increase its capacity to 75,000 Mw by 2017.
NTPC is also looking at acquiring coal blocks in Queensland and New South Wales, Australia, and has identified two-three such properties, for which it is in talks with merchant bankers. It also plans to invite offers from overseas miners willing to sell stakes in their mines.
The state-owned power company plans to meet 40-60 per cent of its imported coal needs through direct imports. Currently, it imports 12-15 million tonnes of coal annually through STC and MMTC.
Earlier, NTPC had planned a 3,960-Mw supercritical thermal power project in Uttar Pradesh. However, the plan ran into problems over differences with the state government on usage of electricity generated by the project. The company will also start coal production from its captive mine in Jharkhand in 2011-12, for which the company will be investing about Rs 1,800 crore.
The company was awarded eight coal blocks at the end of 2004 and start of 2007. At a global average, it takes about seven-eight years for developing a coal mine. NTPC has exclusive exploration rights for five mines in India. It has also joint rights with Coal India for two more mines in Jharkhand.