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Home News Power Sector News Dabhol board to consider additional 2,100MW capacity

Dabhol board to consider additional 2,100MW capacity

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DabholThe board of Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt. Ltd (RGPPL), which operates the Dabhol power plant, will consider a proposal  to develop an additional capacity of 2,100MW at the same location for an estimated '8,400 crore. "The feasibility report of the additional capacity has already been completed and no additional land acquisition is required... All the stakeholders have shown keen intent in developing the additional capacity," said RGPPL managing director A.K. Ahuja. State-run NTPC Ltd and GAIL (India) Ltd own 29.65% each of RGPPL. The Maharashtra government has a 15% stake, with the balance owned by state-run banks and financial institutions. This consortium acquired the company, previously named Dabhol Power Co., after its original promoter, US-based Enron, collapsed in 2001.

The Dabhol project was originally planned with a generation capacity of 2,150MW, but was scaled down to 1,950MW because of problems with equipment. It achieved full load on 31 March, but is currently generating 1,600MW as control upgradations are being done on one machine. RGPPL has a total project area of around 1,700 acres, with around 900 acres being open. It also has an associated liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal. Land acquisition has become a key concern for infrastructure development in the country, with local residents resentful of relocation and resettlement. "The only thing left to be tied up is the gas," added Ahuja. Mint had reported about the proposal to increase capacity on 12 October. Any increase in capacity will help power-starved Maharashtra.

The project, which registered a loss of '600 crore in 2008-09, made a profit of '40 crore in the year to March and is expecting a profit of '200 crore in the current fiscal, said Ahuja. "It is a turnaround." Despite suffering from recurring turbine failures, RGPPL has decided to run the plant without insurance cover against mechanical breakdowns as it was unable to secure it. The plan will be reviewed in May. RGPPL had kept aside '100 crore to pay as insurance premium. "We are confident about running it without insurance until we review our decision next year as a blade health monitoring system has been installed. If anything comes to happen, we will know in advance," said Ahuja. The utility has already signed a performance guarantee agreement under which it will pay a fee to General Electric Co. (GE) to repair the turbines if they fail again. In return, GE has guaranteed the performance of the machines and agreed to absorb part of the cost of a breakdown. Conceived in the 1990s, Dabhol soon ran into trouble as the ruling party in the state, which had signed the agreement with Enron, lost in assembly elections. The new government questioned the high cost of power the plant would produce.


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