Amravati Thermal Power Project

From Global Energy Monitor

Amravati Thermal Power Project is a 1,350-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station in Maharashtra, India.

An additional phase II and III were proposed at the site

Location

The undated satellite photo below shows the power station, along with the two partially built units on the abandoned Phase II immediately to the east, near the village of Nandgaonpeth in Amravati district, Maharashtra.

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Background

The proposed project by RattanIndia Power Ltd (formerly Indiabulls Power Ltd) was planned to consist of three stages.

Phase I

Stage I would comprise five 270 MW units. For Stage I, the first unit of 270 MW was completed on March 25, 2013, and the second February 17, 2014.[1][2] The next three units are expected to be operational in FY 2014.[3]

In 2011, the company said that coal linkage had been granted and that "letters of assurance from South Eastern Coalfields Ltd. (SECL), Western Coalfields Ltd. (WCL) and Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd. (MCL) have been issued."[4]

The company stated in 2012 that the project had achieved financial closure, and "construction is in full swing."[5]

Units 3-5 were commissioned by RattanIndia Power Ltd in February and March 2015. The company also laid a new railway track between Walgaon and the power plant for direct coal supply from South Eastern Coalfields Limited, a subsidiary of Coal India.[6]

Coal plant paid millions to sit idle

In May 2017, Climate Home reported that state-owned Mahadiscom, the world’s second largest electricity distribution company, was bearing the fixed cost of the coal plant under its power purchase agreement (PPA) with Rattan India. Under the contract, the distribution company must buy power at a cost of nearly US$600 million over the four years to 2020, yet Mahadiscom forecast the capacity would only be needed a fraction of that time, and the company planned to completely “back down” the plant from April 2017 to March 2018, documents showed. The unit cost worked out to US$2.40 a kilowatt hour, almost 40 times the market rate.[7]

Financing for Phase I

In August 2015, a financing agreement for Phase I of the project was closed. SBI Capital Markets agreed to provide the project with US$37.84 million in loans.[8]

Phases II and III

According to the Central Electricity Authority, Phase II consisted of five units of 270 MW each, rather than two units of 660 MW each as described by Indiabulls.[1]

Phase II received environmental clearance in 2011.[9] It is under construction and planned for commercial operation during India's 13th plan (2018-2023).[10]

In November 2015, it was reported that the construction was on hold.[11] As of October 2017, construction was still on hold.[12]

As of November 2017, there had not been significant expenditure on the project since fiscal year 2012-2013. With over four years of inactivity, the project appeared to be abandoned.[13]

The company also received a terms of reference for a stage III of a further 1,320 MW in 2009,[14] although stage III was not mentioned in 2014 news updates on the project[15][3] and also appeared to be cancelled.

Cancellation of Phase II confirmed

In 2021 government documents, the following were listed as reasons for the cancellation of Phase II:[16]

  • "No new Bids for Long Term PPAs have been coming up in the Market since the last 5 years."
  • "The revised emission norms under the Environment (Protection) Amendment Rules, 2015 revising, inter alia, emission norms for thermal power plants., drastic changes in the design and equipment of Phase II was required to be carried out."
  • "Central Electricity Authority has stated in the National Electricity Plan that 'No coal based capacity addition is required under any scenario irrespective of RE capacity addition'. Due to aforesaid reasons and non-availability of New PPAs, Lenders were reluctant to release funds for further construction of Phase II; hence, construction of Phase II had been stalled indefinitely."
  • "As per CEA small capacity plants are only for captive purpose and new capacity addition will be through super critical units only. Accordingly the entire contact awarded needs to be changed to super critical based technology of 660 MW and above and scrap the present capacity of 270 MW sub critical."

Ownership

As of July 2014, there were talks of Adani Power acquiring the power project from owner RattanIndia Power Ltd.[15]

In 2022, RattanIndia Power said it expected to become debt-free in nearly two years based on revenue from Amravati and accumulated dues from power distribution companies.[17][18]

Opposition

In 2010, activists affiliated with Upper Wardha Paani Bachao Kruti Samiti (a campaign to save water of the Upper Wardha dam) stalled work on the power station, opposing the diversion of irrigation water from the Upper Wardha to the project.[19]

By the end of August 2010, the Amravati power plant had faced public opposition from farmers in the Vidarbha region. They feared the power plant would suck the water from the irrigation project in Upper Wardha, damaging their agriculture and livelihoods. They also expressed concerns over the jobs and the acquisition of land by the Indiabulls company for the power plant. The group, Sophia Hatao Sangharsha Samiti, filed a petition in the Nagpur High Court against the project over the water irrigation concerns.[20]

By April 2011, it was reported that numerous petitions had been filed in the Bombay High Court, calling for the Amravati power plant project to stop due to water supply problems in the area. The petitions were posted for a hearing in June 2011, claiming that “thousands of farmers in Amravati district will be deprived of irrigation as the water for the said project will be diverted.”[21]

Farmers also alleged that the Indiabulls company was laying a pipeline in the Amravati area without ever seeking the permission of the farmers there. They claim the company threatened them with “dire consequences” when they protested the pipeline. Some farmers sent complaints to the Morshi police, resulting in the police registering offenses of trespassing and damaging farmland against the Indiabulls company. The Indiabulls company spokesperson responded to the allegations, stating that they offered compensation for the land that some farmers were refusing to accept.[22]

In April 2013, Sanjay Kolhe, one of the farmers from Amravati, started an online petition demanding that the Chief Minister, Prithviraj Chavan, give the water back to the farmers for irrigation, rather than for thermal power plants. On May 22, 2013, Greenpeace activists held a 250-foot banner on the Upper Wardha dam in Amravati to protest the prioritization of water for thermal power plants, like the Amravati power plant. The banner read, “Water for Farmers not Power Plants.”[23]

Project Details

Sponsor: RattanIndia Power Ltd (formerly Indiabulls Power Ltd)
Location: Nandgaonpeth, Amravati district, Maharashtra
Coordinates: 21.0803156, 77.9012418 (exact)
Status:

  • Phase I, Unit 1: commissioned March 25, 2013
  • Phase I, Unit 2: commissioned February 17, 2014
  • Phase I, Units 3-5: commissioned February-March 2015
  • Phase II: Cancelled
  • Phase III: Cancelled

Capacity:

  • Phase I: 1350 MW (five units, each 270 MW)
  • Phase II: 1350 MW (five units, each 270 MW)
  • Phase III: 1320 MW (two units, 660 MW)

Type:

Coal Type:
Coal Source:
Estimated annual CO2:
Source of financing: phase I: US$37.84 million in debt from SBI Capital Markets[8]
Permits and applications:

Articles and resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Monthly Report on Broad Status of Thermal Power Projects in the Country, Central Electricity Authority, February 2014
  2. Thermal Power Project: Amravati, Indiabulls website, accessed November 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Rajiv Rattan to invest Rs360 crore in Indiabulls Power," Live Mint, September 8, 2014
  4. Indiabulls Power, "Amravati Thermal Power Project," Indiabulls Power website, accessed November 2011
  5. "Robust results for Indiabulls Power in FY 2011-12," Indiabulls press release, April 28, 2012
  6. "Amravati plant attains full capacity," Times of India, March 30, 2015
  7. "The Indian coal plant paid $150m to sit idle," Climate Home, May 16, 2017
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Preview of Amravati Thermal Power Plant Phase I (1350MW) | Transaction | IJGlobal". ijglobal.com. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
  9. Environmental Clearance, India MoEF, May 27, 2011
  10. "Supply of coal to Power Plants," India Ministry of Power, July 23, 2015
  11. "Broad Status Report," India Central Electrical Authority, November 2015
  12. "Broad Status Report," India Central Electrical Authority, October 2017
  13. "Broad Status Report," India Central Electrical Authority, November 2017
  14. Terms of Reference, India MoEF, December 2, 2009
  15. 15.0 15.1 Piyush Pandey,"Adani eyes Indiabulls' 1,350 MW Amravati Thermal Power Project," TNN, July 30, 2014
  16. “Broad Status Report,” Thermal Project Monitoring Division , Central Electricity Authority, November 2021
  17. "RattanIndia Power expects to become debt-free in 2 years," The Economic Times, January 21, 2022
  18. "RattanIndia Power consolidated net loss widens to Rs 386.69 cr in Dec qtr," Business Standard, January 21, 2022
  19. "Protesters stall work on thermal project in Amravati," The Hindu, January 27, 2010
  20. “Misled about water,” Down to Earth, August 31, 2010
  21. “Indiabulls’ Amravati power plant lands in court,” Domain-B, April 21, 2011
  22. “Farmers complain of trespass, intimidation by power project officials,” The Times of India, April 30, 2011
  23. “Greenpeace protests water diversion to power plants,” Rediff, May 30, 2013

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