Ennore Thermal Power Station

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Ennore power station is a retired 450-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station in Tamil Nadu, India, owned by the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO).

TANGEDCO proposed adding 2 x 660 MW units at the power station: one expansion unit and one replacement unit. The fiercely opposed expansion unit is under development, and the replacement unit is presumed cancelled.

The power station is not to be confused with the Ennore SEZ Super Critical Thermal Power Project (Vayalur).

Location

The undated satellite photo below shows the retired power station and the expansion project in Ernavur village, about 20 kms from Chennai city.

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Background

The original power station was established in 1970-75 in an area of about 237 acres. It had an installed capacity of 450 MW (3x110 MW + 2x60 MW) when commissioned.[1]

The power station was shut down permanently on March 31, 2017, and was expected to be replaced with a proposed 660 MW replacement unit.[2]

Expansion unit (660 MW)

TANGEDCO planned to call for tenders for the construction of a 660 MW coal-fired unit (previously 600 MW) in February 2012 with construction scheduled to begin in mid-2012 and commissioning in December 2015.[3][4]

In January 2012, it was announced that Chief Minster Jayalalithaa approved the building of the 600 MW coal-fired unit and that it was projected to be commissioned by late 2015. It was reported that the new unit would not require the acquisition of additional land.[3]

The Energy Department's Policy note 2014-15 included the Ennore expansion (Unit 6). The project cost was Rs 5,000 crore. The construction contract was awarded to Lanco Infratech.[5]

Construction

As of April 2015, the power station was listed as under construction by the India government.[6] It was planned for operation in 2018.[7][8]

Delays & new contract

In March 2018, TNEB cancelled the contract given to Lanco for setting up the unit, saying the project was stuck because of Lanco’s financial problems. Lanco’s insolvency case was pending with the National Company Law Tribunal. The project was to be commissioned in January 2018, but as of March 2018, it was less than 20% complete. According to TNEB, once a new contractor would be identified through a re-tender, it would take three more years for the project to be completed.[9]

According to the India Ministry of Power in April 2019, "Corporate Insolvency & Bankruptcy Process (CIRP) [have been] initiated against Lanco (the EPC Contractor) by IDBI Bank from 07.08.2017 and interim resolution professional appointed on 10.08.2017 and hence the project has been stalled from 07.08.2017." No date was offered for completion.[10]

The unit again received environmental clearance on December 11, 2019.[11] It was also announced that month that following the cancellation of the project tender with Lanco, the engineering, procurement and construction contract was awarded to BGR Energy Systems which said that the overall completion period would be 36 months starting from the date of the contract.[12]

2021: Permit put in abeyance

In September 2021, the Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) put in abeyance the Environment Clearance (EC) granted to the 660 MW Ennore Thermal Power Station expansion project for a period of six months, and directed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) to conduct a public hearing for the project. Construction was allowed to proceed, but the bench said Tangedco should not commence operations without completion of the process of incorporating additional conditions, if any, made by the MoEF. The NGT directed the Ministry to conduct the public hearing within a period of two months, and after getting the public opinion on the project, direct the Tandegco to conduct further studies, if required. Following this, an additional Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report would have to be submitted to the Expert Appraisal Committee of the MoEFF.[13]

2022: New public hearing and work begins

The public hearing for the project was postponed twice following strong protest by the public and various organizations including Chennai Climate Action Group. However, the NGT Southern Zone refused to reschedule the public hearing despite public health concerns during the pandemic.[14][15]

In August 2022, forward progress was reported on the expansion unit. Following testing, the contractor BGR Energy Systems (BGRESL) was slated to begin the work that had been delayed for five years.[16]

Replacement unit (660 MW)

In addition to the expansion unit, TANGEDCO has proposed replacing the existing 450 MW (nameplate) coal plant with a new 660 MW unit (Unit 7). The company received a terms of reference for the project on July 24, 2014, and submitted an EIA in July 2017.[1]

The plant is opposed by the residents who fear that the new plant will degrade the air quality and lead to a loss of fishing livelihoods.[17]

As of January 2020, there had been no further developments, and the project appeared to be deferred or abandoned.

Coal supply

Expansion unit

Coal for the project was planned to be sourced in part from the Mandakini B coal mine in Orissa which was earmarked to be shared equally between the Odisha State Mining Corporation, the Meghalaya Mineral Development Corporation, the Assam Mineral Development Corporation and TANGEDCO. The use of imported coal to blend with coal from Orissa was also foreshadowed.[3]

Replacement unit

In the 2017 EIA, it was reported the new unit would use domestic coal from the Chandrabila coal block, Odisha.[1]

Financing

In 2015, the state-owned Rural Electrification Corporation agreed to provide loan financing for the project of US$890 million.[18] This financing was linked to the first contract for the construction works with Lanco, which was cancelled.

In 2018, it was reported that the Power Finance Corporation (PFC) provided financing for the expansion project.[9] TANGEDCO also states that PFC is funding the expansion project. The total estimated cost as of January 2019 was Rs 63.8 billion (approximately US$910 million).[19]

Project Details of unit 6 (exp.)

Sponsor: Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation
Location: Ernavur village, Ambathur taluk, Thiruvallur district, Tamil Nadu
Coordinates: Existing plant: 13.2016, 80.3112 (exact); Unit 6: 13.1980211, 80.3104341 (exact)
Status: Construction
Capacity: 660 MW
Type: Supercritical
Projected in service:
Coal Type:
Coal Source: Mandakini-B coal block, Odisha
Source of financing: Expansion Project: Power Finance Corporation[9]
Permits and applications: Environmental Clearance, June 3, 2009; additional information, January 24, 2013; "Terms of Reference extension for EIA/EMP report," India MoEF, August 2, 2016; Environmental clearance, India MoEF, December 11, 2019

Project Details of unit 7 (repl.)

Sponsor: Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation
Location: Ernavur village, Ambathur taluk, Thiruvallur district, Tamil Nadu
Coordinates: 13.2016, 80.3112 (exact)
Status: Presumed cancelled
Capacity: 660 MW
Type: Supercritical
Projected in service:
Coal Type:
Coal Source: Chandrabila coal block, Odisha
Source of financing: Rural Electrification Corporation
Permits and applications: EIA, TANGEDCO, July 2017

Articles and resources

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "EIA," TANGEDCO, July 2017
  2. "Executive Summary for the proposed Ennore Thermal Power Station (ETPS)" (PDF). Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd.,. January 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2017.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 T. Ramakrishnan, "Nod for project to replace Ennore power station," The Hindu, January 2, 2012
  4. "Additional Information file," MoEF, January 24, 2013
  5. "TN Generation and Distribution Corp plans to add over 5700 MW before 2020," Business Standard, July 22, 2014
  6. "Broad Status Report," India Central Electrical Authority, April 2015
  7. "Monthly Report on Broad Status of Thermal Power Projects in the Country," Government of India Ministry of Power, March 2016
  8. "Broad Status Report," India Central Electrical Authority, March 2017
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Lanco finance crisis leaves project undone, TN in fix," TNN, March 27, 2018
  10. "Monthly Report on Broad Status of Thermal Power Projects in the Country," Government of India Ministry of Power, April 2019
  11. "Environmental clearance," India MoEF, December 11, 2019
  12. "BGR Energy wins $630m contract for Ennore power station expansion," NS Energy, December 2019
  13. "NGT suspends clearance for Ennore power plant extension," The Hindu, September 22, 2021
  14. "Ennore Thermal Power Plant Project: 'Can't Stop Authorities From Exercising Statutory Powers'; NGT Southern Zone Refuses To Reschedule Public Hearing," Live Law, January 6, 2022
  15. "Power plant expansion: Activists urge govt to postpone public hearing," DT Next, January 3, 2022
  16. "BGRESL to commence work on Ennore thermal power station project," Construction World, August 23, 2022
  17. "Ennore residents oppose power plant". The Hindu. 31 May 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
  18. "Ennore Coal-fired Power Plant," IJGlobal, June 2015,
  19. "ENNORE THERMAL POWER STATION EXPANSION PROJECT," TANGEDCO, January 31, 2019

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External resources

External articles