India: Tamil Nadu’s 40,000 crore plan to replace thermal units

Tangedco is set to replace all old thermal units in the state with new super critical units at an estimated 40,000 crore. The new thermal units, which will have a combined capacity of 5,700MW, will come up in the next five years. Several state-owned thermal units are working beyond their prescribed life of 25 years. The state discom has decided to replace 12 old units with a total capacity of 2,520MW in Mettur, Tuticorin and North Chennai.

The new super critical units – each with a minimum of 600MW capacity – will be located in areas close to the old ones. There will be three units of 800MW each and five of 660MW each. As per a Central Electricity Authority order, all thermal units which are working for more than 25 years have to be shut down. Tangedco will shut down old units in a phased manner, based on the progress in setting up new ones. The oldest of the thermal units to be replaced is in Ennore has a capacity the generate 60MW. Some thermal units more than 30 yrs old.

It was started way back in 1970 and shut down recently. Similarly, the units in Mettur were set up in 1987 and Tuticorin units were started between 1980 and 1994. Some of these units are more than 30 years old. “The old thermal units are contributing substantially to Tangedco’s generation even now,” said a senior Tangedco official. “The old units are of lower capacity of 110MW or 220MW, but have high plant load factor. We refurbished these plants a few years ago and more or less made them new.

The funds required for the project would be sourced as loans from REC and Power Finance Corporation, said the official. The new units will come up at Udangudi, Uppur, Ennore SEZ, Ennore expansion and North Chennai.

“The land where old units are located at present will be used for setting up solar parks,” said the official.