World bank to refurbish old power plants

KOLKATA: The World Bank will refurbish three old thermal power plants — one in Maharashtra and two in West Bengal — at an investment of Rs 1,400 crore as part of a pilot project for the National Programme on Coal Rehabilitation.

In West Bengal, it will spend about Rs 950 crore to upgrade one unit each of the Bandel and Kolaghat thermal power stations belonging to the state-owned West Bengal Power Development Corp. In Maharashtra, the international funding agency will spend about Rs 450 crore on MahaGenco’s Koradi Thermal Power.

“We are in talks with both the states for starting the pilot project, which will involve total refurbishment, including the boilers and turbine. It is expected to extend the life of these plants and will also increase plant load factor as well as consumption of coal,” Ashis Khanna, India energy team leader at the World Bank, told ET.

Once the pilot project is seen to work, the National Programme on Coal Rehabilitation will get under way in full swing, Khanna said. The plants in the pilot are at least 30 years old and score poorly on fuel efficiency. Following refurbishment, the cost of per unit generation of power is likely to drop.

West Bengal has at least six units that are 30-50 years old and are in a similar condition. The rehabilitation programme will provide a significant boost to the power sector, said Khanna, who was in the city to attend an energy conclave organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.



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