Dabhol Power has stopped generation because of unavailability of gas. The plant, renamed Ratnagiri Gas & Power Private Ltd (RGPPL), had been on and off over the past two months because of erratic gas supply.
It stopped getting gas on Friday, pushing it back to the period when its future looked bleak in view of political and technical difficulties a decade ago.
The development is even crucial because Union finance minister P Chidambaram had made a mention of the project and its gas terminal, which he said would benefit gas-fired power plants when completed this year. The terminal is expected to help download imported gas. But the Centre has no immediate solution to the crisis in Dabhol as it has been unable to meet the state’s demand for more gas.
Located on the coast, approximately 180km to the south of Mumbai, the company has gas-fired a power plant with a capacity of 1,950 megawatt. The plant needs 8.5 million metric standard cubic meter daily – 7.6 MMSCMD from Reliance and 0.9 MMSCMD from ONGC – to produce power to its full capacity.
With inadequate gas supply dropping the power generation to 580mw, the plant has been in trouble since October 2011. The production dropped further to 250mw last month, after which it stopped working in the last week of January.
The power generation re-started three days later. The official RGPPL said, “We were getting some 0.8 MMSCMD gas till date. But it too has stopped and we have no scheduled supply coming in near future.” Usually, the suppliers confirm the quantity of gas supply a day in advance.
While Dabhol shut on Friday, its sole buyer, state-owned Mahagenco, saw a glimmer of hope in the first unit of 500mw of NTPC Vindyanchal unit which started on Thursday.
On Friday, Adani’s 660mw unit in Vidarbha also started working and it would supply all its generation to Mahavitaran by second week of March. Mahavitaran said it was left with a deficit of 400-500mw and it would continue to enforce scheduled power cuts in revenue-deficit areas.