• LNG option for power on back burner

    Despite a weakening power position in the State owing to the elusive monsoon, there is a lack of interest among authorities to rely on NTPC for additional requirement.

    The gas-based plant of NTPC at Kayamkulam has been idling for most part of the year in the absence of adequate orders for power generation from the KSEB.


    The State has been giving orders to the unit to generate electricity as a stop-gap arrangement.

    Though the government has been maintaining that the higher power generation cost is the reason behind low utilisation of the facility, NTPC has disputed it.

    While NTPC has been offering power to the State at Rs.6.30 a unit, the actual cost incurred by the government is much less, according to sources in the power sector.

    The KSEB had been getting 180 MW from the NTPC Talcher plant in Odisha under a special package at Rs.1.20 to Rs.1.80 a unit, sources in the power sector said.


    The package had been offered as a mechanism to offset the impact on Kerala’s power scenario arising out of the higher cost of production at the Kayamkulam unit.

    The facility has been utilised by the State since 2005. Kerala has been getting over 1100 MW from NTPC units including Kayamkulam. In effect, the average cost of power being supplied to the KSEB by NTPC comes to about Rs.3.50 per unit.

    In the absence of the reduced rate for power from Talcher, Kerala’s power purchase bill would have gone higher, according to theses sources.

    Kerala, having an installed power generation capacity of 2,891 MW, has a demand exceeding 4,000 MW. Less than 10 pert cent of the 360 MW capacity of the NTPC plant is being utilised now.


    With the prevailing uncertainty over the Athirappilly power project, it is certain that the State government will have to depend on alternative sources, but little attention is being paid to utilise power from the Kayamkulam plant to its full capacity.

    A top official of Petronet LNG said the government could take initiatives such as extending gas pipeline on land or under sea as well as waiving of the local taxes on LNG in a bid to run the Kayamkulam plant throughout the year.

    “Monetary calculations apart, the induction of LNG as fuel at the plant would usher in an eco-friendly power generation regime in a State which is known for a clean and green environment.”

    Such a move is all the more relevant now against the backdrop of the recent National Green Tribunal order to four north Indian States to make use of compressed natural gas for running vehicles, in a bid to curb pollution.

    The critical problems faced by the country’s capital city due to pollution should be an eye opener to Kerala, the official said. Babe Ruth Authentic Jersey

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