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Power addition short of target by two-thirds

November 05, 2008 11:28 IST
Fresh addition of power capacity in the first half of the 2008-09 financial year has fallen short of target by nearly two-thirds because of delays in supply of critical components for thermal projects and non-availability of fuel for a nuclear project.

According to the latest data provided by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), only 1,758 Mw capacity, or one-third of the 5,226-Mw target, was added in six months ended September 2008.

However, the power ministry is confident that its capacity addition plans will not be hit.

"There has been some hold-up on the balance-of-plant (BoP) side, but I had a meeting with project developers and BoP contractors to try and ensure that they deliver," said Power Secretary Anil Razdan. BoP refers to components that are not part of the main plant equipment like boilers, turbines and generators.

The commissioning of the projects was reviewed jointly by officials of power and finance ministries and the Planning Commission recently. Razdan had called for a long-term strategy to tackle the problem. One idea is bunching of orders or the practice of big capacity addition in a particular year.

"I found that the BoP contractors have been following uneven delivery schedules. They are now taking more time to deliver," Razdan said. "We are rationalising the BoP orders by trying to push bigger players into it (the business)."

Of the 779 BoP equipment needed for the current Plan period's capacity addition target of 78,700 Mw, orders for about 319, or about 41 per cent, are yet to be placed, according to the CEA data.

Hydel on target, but thermal and nuclear slip

The data show that while the hydro power capacity addition target of 439 Mw for the April-September period has been achieved, the addition of thermal and nuclear capacity has seen huge slippages.

Of the total thermal power capacity addition target of 4,347 Mw, only 1,319 Mw, or about 30 per cent, has been added. But the nuclear capacity addition target of 440 Mw, which was to be added by the commissioning of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd's Rajasthan Atomic Power Plant units five and six, has been missed completely.

"The Rajasthan Atomic Power Plant units have not been commissioned due to lack of availability of uranium and also because the testing of the plant is not over yet," said a senior official of the Department of Atomic Energy. He added the plant was expected to be commissioned in another six months.

Industry experts confirmed that delays in the installation of equipment had been a major constraint.

"Delays in equipment are no doubt a major reason for the slippages. But the government sector holds the key here because a greater chunk of capacity addition in the current Plan period is going to come from the government sector," said a senior analyst from an accounting and consultancy firm.

Sudheer Pal Singh in New Delhi
Source: source