The PSPCL keeps these shut down while buying cheaper power from sources outside the state.
A recent order by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) directing the PSPCL to install a flue gas desulphurization (FGD) worth Rs 122 crore at the Ropar and Lehra Mohabatt thermal power plants has put the Power Corporation in a tight spot as the unit have either outlived or are nearing their maximum live span. The corporation is considering replacing the Ropar thermal units with three 800 MW super critical thermal unit. If implemented the FGD will cost the PSPCL Rs 0.73 crore per MW for a for the plants that remains shut for eight months a year due to reduced plant load factor which presently is at 40% which increases the per unit cost of power. Therefore, the PSPCL keeps these shut down while buying cheaper power from sources outside the state.
The CPCB had recently asked the PSPCL to install the FGDs by December, this year and install cooling tower system by June 2022 forcing the authorities to invite tenders for both Ropar and Lehra Mohabatt thermal plants.
The PSPCL authorities have already shut down the first two units of the Ropar thermal plant and the unit no 3 and 4 were commissioned in September, 1988 and January 1989 and have completed 30 years of life. The unit no 5 and 6 were commissioned in September 1992 and December 1993 and have completed 27 years of life. The Lehra Mohabatt thermal unit 1 and 2 of 210 MW capacity each were commissioned in December, 1997 and October 1998 and lived a life of more than 20 years.
The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has asked the state power corporations to shut down all the thermal units that have outlived a period of 25 years and replaced by super critical units.
The PSPCL which supplied a maximum 13500 MW this year has already floated the idea of setting of three units of 800 MW each at Ropar replacing the existing thermal units and spending Rs 122 crore is being considered to be a waste. Moreover, both the Ropar and Lehra Mohabatt operate on Indian coals which have high ash content, but do not have sulphur which is to be curtailed by the FGDs and going by the technicalities, these are not required at these two thermal power plants as these do not use imported coal.
The installation of pollution control technology in coal-based power plants was announced by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in 2015 to limit the concentration of sulphur dioxide , nitrogen oxides , particulate matter (PM) and mercury in stack emissions for coal-fired power plants. The deadline has now been extended to 2022. For plants located in proximity to the National Capital Region, the target date for environmental compliance is ending in 2019.
As per information only two out of 441 plants have so far commissioned FDGs units.
As per a report the tariff increase would be 32 to 72 paise per unit but in extreme cases, the tariff increases could be as high as 90 paise to 120 paise per unit depending upon plant load factor.