Uppur power station

From Global Energy Monitor

Uppur power station is a proposed 1,600-megawatt (MW) coal plant in Tamil Nadu, India.

Location

The undated satellite photo below shows the proposed location for the project in Thiruvadanai taluk in Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu. Planet satellite imagery from January 2022 shows the power station under construction.

In 2021, there were discussions about the project being moved to Udangudi, Tamil Nadu, about 200 kilometres away.

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Background

The project is sponsored by Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation and will use supercritical technology. Land necessary for the project (1,200 acres) has been identified. According to TANGEDCO, the project will be set up on tariff-based competitive bidding and is to be commissioned by Dec 2015.[1]

In April 2013, it was reported that the project had completed the Detailed Project Report to seek clearance MoEF. Once the MoEF gave its approval, the process of land acquisition would begin. About 300 acres of government land had been identified, and 600 more acres of private land would be sought. The project would be established under the Build Operate Transfer (BOT) model and 0.4 percent of the project cost would be spent for the benefit of local people, according to company Collector K. Nanthakumar.[2]

An EIA was submitted in February 2014.[3] The project applied for environmental clearance in March 2015, which was granted in June 2016.[4]

According to the TANGEDO website, the budget for the project is Rs 12,778 Crores, and the date of commissioning is November 19, 2019.[5] However, according to the Broad Status report, only Rs 775 Lakhs was spent in FY 2015-16 and only Rs 226 Lakhs in FY 2016-17 through February, indicating that construction has not begun and the project will not be completed in 2019.[6] The foundation stone for the power station was laid in July 2016 and the Boiler Turbine Generator (BTG) contract was handed over to Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) that month. But the project has remained stuck as the developers have been unable to secure the private land it wants for the project.[7]

In October 2017, it was reported that "tender for BOP Packages yet to be awarded." No proposed start date is offered.[8]

The balance of plant (BoP) contract was awarded to Reliance Infrastructure in February 2018.[9]

According to the India Ministry of Power (March 2019), the plant is planned for operation in 2020.[10]

However, in 2021 it was reported the project is delayed, with commissioning now planned for 2024-2025.[11]

In March 2021, the NGT directed the company to conduct "a fresh coal analysis and study the bridge issue." The environment ministry was directed to issue a revised Environmental Clearance after conducting an independent enquiry through its Expert Appraisal Committee. The EC was in abeyance.[12][13]

In May 2021, faced with continuous hurdles, Tangedco reportedly decided to shift the project to Udangudi in Thoothukudi to overcome various issues like the National Green Tribunal order, land litigation, local people agitation, and establishment of the railway line to transport coal. Udangudi is about 200 kilometres away from Uppur, and a 1.3 GW coal-fired plant is already being built in the area.[14]

However, in November 2021, the new state government, which came into office in May, was reportedly working on restarting the power plant in Uppur. (This appeared confirmed by notes in the government's November 2021 Broad Status report.[15]) Two officials from project operator told Reuters that more than 30% of the work was complete and at least 10 billion rupees ($134 million) had already been invested. The officials expect the first of the two units of the Uppur project to be completed in late 2025 or early 2026 (while the first unit at Udangudi was estimated to be ready by 2024).[16]

In February 2022 news, it was reported that Tangedco was considering reviving the project at the existing site itself. A high-level panel of the corporation had earlier suggested retaining the plant at Uppur, against the decision of the previous government to shift it to Udangudi. According to Tangedco sources, the private consultant Ernst&Young which was tasked with studying the viability and feasibility of the project gave a thumbs up for the supercritical power project at Uppur itself. “We are awaiting the detailed report from the consultant. After that, the final decision will be taken after consulting the government,” sources said. Sources said the officials were also taking steps to address the concerns raised by fishermen and increasing compensation for land acquisition. Last April, Tangedco decided to shift the power project from Uppur to Udangudi as stage III following hurdles in project execution, including a National Green Tribunal stay, land acquisition delay, court cases by fishermen and retendering of the engineering, procurement and construction contract. Under an order dated April 29, 2021, the Tangedco board accorded approval to shift the 2×800 MW STPP to the Udangudi as 2x800MW Udangudi Stage-III and consider Uppur as a fresh project once all the legal issues in NGT and others are settled. However, after the DMK government came to power, Tangedco set up a high-level committee on August 27 comprising three directors and four chief engineers to once again study the decision to shift. The committee furnished its report on October 22 recommending that the project should be executed at Uppur itself. In its 102nd meeting on October 29, the Tangedco board decided to obtain an opinion from the consultant Ernst&Young regarding the viability and feasibility of the project.[17]

Much of this information was also noted in the May 2022 Broad Status Report as well.[18]

The November 2022 Broad Status Report also noted: "Consultant has furnished the report on 07.01.22 and recommended 'To develop the Project at Uppur site itself' and the same was placed before the TANGEDCO Board in its 105th meeting held on 19.01.2022. The Board Directed to place the subject in the next Board meeting for deliberations. In the next Board meeting held on 19.3.2022, the Board directed to restudy the viability & feasibility of consultant’s report submitted."[19]

A Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission order dated September 9, 2022, noted "[t]here are delays in many of the ongoing projects especially in Ennore expansion project, Uppur thermal project. TANGEDCO has not detailed about the future action of Uppur project."[20]

Financing

In 2017, India's Power Finance Corporation agreed to provide a US$767 million loan to Tangedco for the Uppur thermal power project. Then, in March 2018, IDFC Infrastructure Fund provided equity financing of $513 million for the project.[21]

Based on data furnished in a tariff petition to TNERC in 2022, the rate of interest on borrowings made by Tangedco had been on the increase for years. While the interest rate in 2018-19 was 9.82%, the rate increased to 10.24% in 2019-20 and then to 10.45% in 2020-21. According to August 2022 reporting, following the increase in losses each year as well as the debt crossing Rs 1.45 lakh crore, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) asked the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) and Power Finance Corporation (PFC) not to provide any loan to Tangedco.[22]

Opposition

In 2014, various organizations, such as the Coastal Action Network, expressed opposition to the construction of the Uppur power plant in a public consultation held over the project. They claimed worries over damaging the agricultural lands, fishing hamlets, mangrove forests, and marine life in the Gulf of Mannar. They also claimed the land acquisition for the coal plant would affect the farmers and fisherfolk in the Ramanathapuram district.[23]

In November 2015, it was reported that farmers from three villages near the Uppur power plant objected to the land acquisition, claiming their livelihoods depended on the lands. They suggested that the government should provide adequate compensation if they were to acquire the lands. The district administration responded that they would determine compensation and land acquisition decisions in the next four months.[24]

On July 1, 2017, farmers, fishermen, and villagers in Tiruvadanai Taluk in Ramanathapuram district went on a hunger strike, in protest of the Uppur power plant construction. Claiming that the power plant would cause more than 50,000 fishing families to relocate and lots of ash deposited, the protestors argued that the production was going on illegally.[25]

On January 5, 2018, hundreds of men and women went to the District Collectorate to stage a dharna in opposition to the construction of the Uppur power plant, citing reasons of water, land, and livelihood risks. They also claimed that the lands were acquired in “gross violation” of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquistion, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013.[26]

On January 8, 2018, the Madras High Court ordered notice for a plea that the farmers’ association had filed against the Uppur power plant. They claimed that the power plant is a threat to agricultural lands, water sources, and was being conducted with a proper public hearing. They also claimed that the Ramanathapuram Collector had been using the Superintendent of Police to threaten protestors with shootings.[27]

On June 24, 2018, villagers and members of the ‘Anti Uppur thermal power station struggle committee” staged a demonstration at Uppur, protesting against the acquisition of land for the coal-fired power plant. They demanded that the project be dropped, for concerns of land, see, and air hazards.[28]

In response to activists claiming that the Uppur project would affect marine life and protesting the construction of the plant, the TANGEDCO company in charge of the plant has filed a request for environmental restrictions to be eased.[29]

By 2019, the farmers near the Uppur power plant had filed an appeal in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against the environmental clearance granted. This litigation, among others, has slowed down the construction of the Uppur power plant, reportedly.[30]

On August 13, 2019, after protests against the Uppur power plant, the Collector, K. Veera Raghava Roa, held a meeting with the fisherman and residents of Morepannai to discuss the Uppur construction. The talk did not reach an agreement, and another round of talk was scheduled for August 22, 2019.[31] It was reported that after the second round of talk, the fishermen had staged a walkout.[32]

On Thursday, September 19, 2019, fisherman in opposition of the Uppur power plant “laid siege” at the project site near the Morepannai fishing hamlet. There were about 100 boats with black flags on the boats, possibly representing the ash and damage the power plant would bring to the waterways near Uppur.[33]

Project Details

Sponsor: Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation
Location: Uppur, Vadamavur & Thiruppalaikkudi vilages, Thiruvadanai taluk, Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu
Coordinates: 9.58299, 78.90976 (exact)
Status: Construction
Capacity:

  • Unit 1: 800 MW
  • Unit 2: 800 MW

Type: Supercritical
Projected in service: 2025-2026
Coal Source:
Estimated annual CO2:
Source of financing: US$767 million in debt from Power Finance Corporation; $513 million in equity financing from IDFC Infrastructure Fund[21]
Permits and applications: Terms of reference, India MoEF, May 28, 2012; EIA, Feb 2014; Environmental clearance, India MoEF, June 18, 2016

Resources and articles

Related GEM.wiki articles

References

  1. "TN TO FLOAT TENDER FOR TWO PROJECTS," Industry Monitor, January 31, 2012
  2. D. J. Walter Scott, "Project report on Uppur thermal power plant ready," The Hindu, April 24, 2013
  3. EIA, Feb 2014
  4. Environmental clearance, India MoEF, June 18, 2016
  5. "UPPUR SUPER CRITICAL THERMAL POWER PROJECT (2X800MW)," TANGEDCO, accessed June 2017
  6. "Broad Status Report," India Central Electrical Authority, March 2017
  7. "No work on Uppur thermal power plant for six months," The Hindu, Feb 7, 2017
  8. "Monthly Report on Broad Status of Thermal Power Projects in the Country," Government of India Ministry of Power, October 2017
  9. "Reliance bags Uppur thermal power project," The Hindu, Mar 7, 2018
  10. Broad Status of Thermal Power Plants, India Central Electricity Authority, March 2019
  11. "Broad Status of Thermal Power Plants," India Central Electricity Authority, April 2021
  12. "Environmental clearance granted to to Uppur Thermal Plant kept in abeyance," Times of India, March 17, 2021
  13. "NGT stays construction of Uppur thermal power plant," The New Indian Express, March 18, 2021
  14. "Tangedco to shift Uppur project to Udangudi over legal hurdles," DT Next, May 1, 2021
  15. “Broad Status Report,” Thermal Project Monitoring Division, Central Electricity Authority, November 2021
  16. "In India, Tamil Nadu eyes coal power reboot despite local fears," Reuters, October 31, 2021
  17. "India: Uppur Thermal Power Project Likely To Be Revived," DTNext, February 17, 2022
  18. “Broad Status Report of Under Construction Thermal Power Projects,” Central Electricity Authority, May 2022
  19. “Broad Status Report of Under Construction Thermal Power Projects,” India Central Electricity Authority, November 2022
  20. "Determination of Tariff for generation and distribution for FY 2022-23 to FY 2026-27," Order No.07 of 2022 in T.P. No.1 of 2022, September 9, 2022
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Uppur Thermal Power Plant Super-critical coal-fired". Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  22. "Tangedco’s interest payment on the rise as total debt increases to over Rs 1 lakh crore," The Federal, August 17, 2022
  23. “Madras HC Stays Construction of Uppur Thermal Plant Citing Defunct Land Laws”, Land Conflict Watch, Last updated March 21, 2020.
  24. “Land acquisition begins for thermal power plant”, The Hindu News, November 26, 2015.
  25. “Farmers, fishermen oppose Uppur thermal plant”, DT Next, July 2, 2017.
  26. “Villagers protest against Uppur thermal project”, The Hindu news, January 6, 2018.
  27. “Notice ordered on plea opposing Uppur power project”, DT Next, December 27, 2017.
  28. “Villagers protest against proposed Uppur thermal plant”, The Hindu News, June 24, 2018.
  29. “Ease norms for Uppur thermal power plant, urges TANGEDCO”, The New Indian Express, August 21, 2018.
  30. “Thermal power projects yet to pick up steam in State”, DT Next, October 1, 2019.
  31. “Uppur thermal issue: Collector holds talks with fishermen”, The Hindu News, August 17, 2019.
  32. “Uppur thermal plant: fishermen flay laying of pipeline in sea”, The Hindu News, September 19, 2019.
  33. “Uppur thermal plant: fishermen flay laying of pipeline in sea”, The Hindu News, September 19, 2019.