North Chennais third thermal power unit set to be commissioned
The unit, the first of its kind in Tamil Nadu, was supposed to be commissioned in 2019. The COVID lockdown and other issues, however, delayed the commissioning process | Representative Image: iStock

North Chennai's third thermal power unit set to be commissioned

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North Chennai’s third thermal power unit, with 800MW capacity, is all set to be commissioned by March 2023. The unit’s first trial run has been scheduled for January 2023. If successful, this will be Tangedco’s first thermal power unit to be commissioned post-2014.

A delay in commissioning

First of its kind in Tamil Nadu, the unit was supposed to be commissioned in 2019. The COVID lockdown and other issues, however, delayed the process.

The unit will help Tangedco meet its summer demand in 2023.

The groundwork for Unit 3 began in 2016. According to a senior Tangedco official: “The unit was not ready for commissioning in 2019, before the start of the COVID pandemic. The COVID pandemic in 2020 and the subsequent lockdowns, further delayed work on the unit.”

Generally, when land is available, a thermal unit takes only three to four years to complete. This unit has, however, taken five years, said the Tangedco official.

Also Read: As TN wind season nears end, Tangedco puts thermal units on standby

“The total cost of Unit 3 is expected to be ₹6,376 crore. The funding is being done by Rural Electrification Corporation (now called REC). The contract has been taken by BHEL and BGR,” said the official.

Relief to Tangedco officials

The unit’s commissioning will provide relief to Tangedco officials managing the power supply.

“This will be a big relief for us. Unit 3 of Kudankulam will be commissioned by 2023 or 2024, and will provide us with not fewer than 800MW of thermal power. We are hopeful of increasing our solar power capacity,” said the official.

The official said that after a nearly two-year halt, work has also begun at two thermal power units in Udangudi. More than 2500 workers are involved in the units, having a total capacity of 1300MW. The units will be ready for power generation in the next two years.

Also Read: Tangedco needs to hike own thermal capacity to cater to new investors in TN

Urgency to increase Tangedco’s thermal capacity

There is an urgency to increase Tangedco’s thermal capacity. “At any time, we can bring only 4000MW of power from any state. This will not be enough in case new companies start operating in the state. There will be an urgency to increase the power supply through sources like wind or solar,” said the official.

Asked about the coal supply to Unit 3, the official said Tangedco has a long-term linkage of coal from Talcher or Mahanadi in Odisha. “Domestic coal requirement will be sourced from the Kalinga block of the Talcher, Mahanadi and IB valley coalfields. The imported coal has been sourced from foreign countries by sea. It is received at the Ennore port, and further transported through a conveying system,” said the official.

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