Fuel-starved IPPs Await New Coal Policy

Even as the Centre has extended short-term supply of coal to thermal power plants, which had lost their mines after Supreme Court cancelled licences of 204 blocks, till June-end, the MoU-signed independent power projects (IPPs) of the State are anxiously waiting for the new linkage policy.

The Ministry of Coal will come out with a fresh coal linkage policy shortly to avert disruption in power generation, sources in the power industry said.

As actual stock of coal of thermal power plants operating in the State is much less than the normative stock and Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) being the sole supplier of coal has its limitations to meet the demand, power generating units badly need an assured supply of fossil fuel to run their plant at normal plant load factor.

Thermal power plants of the State are facing twin problems of fuel shortage and lack of dedicated corridor for power evacuation to other destinations.

Though MCL had performed better than other subsidiaries of Coal India Limited (CIL) in terms of production during 2014-15, the coal stock position of Sterlite power plant at Jharsuguda and GMR’s Kamalanga power plant in Dhenkanal district is for two weeks, the sources said.

However, the coal stocks of State-run Ib thermal power plant and NTPC’s Talcher thermal power stations are in comfortable position.

To avert disruption in power generation, the Government had earlier asked State miner Coal India to supply fuel to such power plants on a tapering basis till March 31, subject to review after that date.

All 32 coal blocks allocated in the State were cancelled by the Ministry of Coal following last year ruling of the apex court. Only one block, Talabira-I in the Ib Valley Coalfields of Hindalco Industries Ltd, was operational.

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