Tata Power, the power generation and transmission company of the Tata Group, is planning to set up greenfield natural gas-based power plants.
The company is in talks with state-controlled distributor GAIL India Ltd for suitable locations where the plants would come up once the GAIL pipeline begins distributing 80 mmscmd (million metric standard cubic meter per day) of gas.
“We are looking at gas-based plants. For power plants, gas supply needs to rise to 80 mmscmd. We have a plan of having 25 per cent of our total power supply from clean energy sources by 2017,” S Padmanabhan, executive director, Tata Power, told Hindustan Times.
“GAIL is always talking to us,” he added, when asked whether talks were on with the state utility.
The gas distributor operates a national gas grid pipeline that comes through Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra before going up north into Uttar Pradesh.
Gas flowing through this pipeline predominantly comes from the Krishna-Godavari gas fields, where Reliance Industries and ONGC are among the exploration companies drilling for oil and gas.
This will be the first time Tata Power will be foraying into developing greenfield power plants using gas as a feedstock. The company currently operates three thermal (coal-based) power plants in Trombay, near Mumbai.
Natural gas is emerging as a preferred source of fuel for power plants in India. The Gujarat government has a declared that it will move towards a gas-based power plant regime. The Goa government too is planning gas-based power plants, though this remains to be confirmed.
Tata Power also has a “green” energy portfolio involving cleaner options like hydroelectricity and wind energy.
Gas-based plants, which are also considered environmentally friendly, unlike coal or petroleum-based feedstock like naphtha, would also augment the company’s green energy portfolio.