India: Uppur thermal power project likely to be revived

Armed with the clearance given by a multi-national consultant, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) is considering reviving the Uppur Supercritical Thermal Power Project at the existing site itself. A high-level panel of the corporation had earlier suggested retaining the plant at Uppur, against the decision of the previous government to shift it to Udangudi.

According to Tangedco sources, the private consultant Ernst&Young which was tasked with studying the viability and feasibility of the project has given a thumbs up for the supercritical power project at Uppur itself. “We are awaiting the detailed report from the consultant. After that, the final decision will be taken after consulting the government,” sources said.

Sources said the officials were also taking steps to address the concerns raised by fishermen and increasing compensation for land acquisition. Last April, Tangedco decided to shift the power project from Uppur to Udangudi as stage III following hurdles in project execution, including a National Green Tribunal stay, land acquisition delay, court cases by fishermen and retendering of the engineering, procurement and construction contract.

Under an order dated April 29, 2021, the Tangedco board accorded approval to shift the 2×800 MW STPP to the Udangudi as 2x800MW Udangudi Stage-III and consider Uppur as a fresh project once all the legal issues in NGT and others are settled. However, after the DMK government came to power, Tangedco set up a high-level committee on August 27 comprising three directors and four chief engineers to once again study the decision to shift. The committee furnished its report on October 22 recommending that the project should be executed at Uppur itself. In its 102nd meeting on October 29, the Tangedco board decided to obtain an opinion from the consultant Ernst&Young regarding the viability and feasibility of the project.

An RTI petition filed by S Neelakantapillai, a retired executive engineer of Tangedco, revealed the power utility has so far paid Rs 2283.75 crore for construction of the Uppur power plant.