NTPC puts off plan to sell Kayamkulam unit to Kerala government

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NTPC,  Kayamkulam unit, Kerala government, Piyush Goyal, MM Mani, KSEB, NTPC Kayakmulam  The plant faced poor demand arising out of high cost of production. Rise in prices of naphtha, the fuel used in the plant, has been the main reason behind unprofitable operations. (IE)

NTPC, currently high on solar energy plans, has shelved the plan to sell its Kayamkulam facility (Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Power Station – RGCCPS) to the Kerala government. It was the Union power ministry that had first mooted sale of RGCCPS-Kayamkulam to the Kerala government. In fact, Union power minister Piyush Goyal and Kerala power minister MM Mani had even arrived at an in-principle understanding on the sale before price became a contentious issue. The plant faced poor demand arising out of high cost of production. Rise in prices of naphtha, the fuel used in the plant, has been the main reason behind unprofitable operations.

Interestingly, NTPC, which is reluctant to sell RGCCPS to the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), is counting on selling solar energy (proposed to be generated in RGCCPS) to the KSEB. In March this year, NTPC installed a 100 kwp floating solar PV plant, the country’s largest solar panel of its kind, at its Kayamkulam station. This floating platform was indigenously developed by the NTPC Energy Technology Research Alliance, the R&D arm of NTPC, in collaboration with the Central Institute of Plastic Engineering & Technology.

Sources in the KSEB confirmed that NTPC has declined to go ahead with further discussions over selling RGCCPS to the state government. The KSEB, meanwhile, is sceptic about the feasibility of receiving solar power from RGCCPS to the grid, as it could
cause voltage surge and other technical glitches, officials told FE.

Through RGCCPS-Kayamkulam, NTPC has offered to supply solar power to Kerala at a rate of Rs 3 per unit. On May 11, NTPC and KSEB had signed an MoU that includes an agreement to set up a 15 MW solar power unit in the Kayamkulam station.The Kerala government, which had given 1,000 acre free of cost to set up the Kayamkulam plant, wants to get back the premises with the power station at depreciated value. Meanwhile, NTPC spokesperson at Kayamkulam said talks of NTPC Kayakmulam changing hands were baseless and that the unit was busy with plans to enhance solar energy generation.

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