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Thermal stations in TN will be spruced up for next generation

The Tamil Nadu Electricity Authority is all set to implement an ambitious Rs forty thousand crore project to revamp the existing thermal stations which are more than 25 years old besides doubling their generation capacity according to government sources.

The state discom is expected to replace twelve old units with a total capacity of 2500 MW in Ennore near Chennai, Mettur and Tuticorin. In their place modern thermal units with a combined capacity of 5700 MW will be put up in the next few years in phases.

Ironically all the old units of the electricity authority are working well and come to the aid of the state during the peak summer season.

The new units with a minimum capacity of 600 MW will be located in areas close to the old thermal stations so that fuel supplies become easier. The old units will be shut down in phases and the change-over will be implemented without disruption in supplies.

The oldest of the thermal units to be replaced is in Ennore has a capacity the generate 60MW commenced power generation in 1970. The unit was shut down recently.  Some of these units are more than 30 years old .Most of these thermal stations are put up near the coast to facilitate fuel supplies through the seas. This helped the authorities cut logistics cost considerably for the past thirty years.The state government floated a shipping corporation in the early 1970s and ran four ships to ferry coal from Bengal Bihar coalfields through Haldia and Paradip ports to these thermal stations. Time has also come to abandon the old ships of the state owned Poompuhar Shipping Corporation. The state government is yet to reveal its mind whether they continue with the shipping corporation or charter ships from private parties to bring in coal to the plants... 

The old units are of lower capacity of 110MW or 220MW, but have high plant load factor. We refurbished these plants a few years ago and more or less made them new units.  Going by their present condition, they have a longer life," he said.

The funds required for the project would be sourced as loans from Rural Electrication Corporation  and
Power Finance Corporation the source said. The new units will come up at Udangudi, Uppur in South Tamil Nadu and Ennore SEZ, Ennore expansion and North Chennai.

"The land where old units are located at present will be used for setting up solar parks.

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