MahaGenco gets captive coal mine for its new projects

The state power generation utility will get better coal supplies, with the Centre allocating a captive coal mine to meet the fuel requirements of its new projects. This linkage, along with another coal mine being sought by the state government, will help fire up over 8,000 MW of the Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited’s (MahaGenco) existing and Greenfield thermal power capacity.

A senior state government official told dna that the state had been allocated the Gare Palma coal blocks in Chhattisgarh. The mine, which is partly underground, with a 23 million metric tons per annum (MTPA) production capacity, will be able to fire up two 500 MW sets in Chandrapur, three 660 MW sets in Koradi and one 250 MW unit in Parli.

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These projects are already under execution and are expected to be commissioned fully in the present fiscal. The Koradi sets will be MahaGenco’s first supercritical units, which operate at higher generating efficiencies.

“The mine has been allocated to us, though a formal allocation letter is awaited… However, it will take around two to three years to develop this mine,” said a MahaGenco official, adding that while these plants would consume around 14 MTPA coal, the state planned to develop a 4,000 MW pithead-based power project at the mine. Some coal may also be used for other projects.

This is likely to be done on a public private partnership basis and the proximity of the power project with the coal mine is expected to bring down electricity prices due to lower transportation costs. MahaGenco has earlier developed a 50 MW grid-connected solar power project in Baramati with private participation.

The state has also sought the allocation of another coal mine at Mahajanwadi near Hingana in Nagpur district. This 4.5 MTPA mine will power a proposed 660 MW set in Nashik, which is planned to be developed with participation from private players, who may hold a controlling stake, and another 250 MW unit at Paras. “However, these projects are at the initial stage and expected to be completed by 2019-20,” the MahaGenco official said, adding that the state had written to the coal ministry for the mine’s allocation.

The coal ministry had earlier allocated the Mahajanwadi coal block jointly to MahaGenco and Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited with a coal share ratio of 50:50.

Thermal power makes up for a large part of MahaGenco’s installed capacity of 11,237 MW. This comprises of 7,980 MW coal-based thermal power, 672 MW on gas and 2,585 MW hydroelectric projects. It has commissioned around 180 MW solar power projects and plans to take it to around 450 MW by the end of the 2015-16 fiscal, which is one of the highest by state utilities.

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