Kolkata, Feb 27: Union Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde yesterday (Feb 26, 2006) said the country's five Ultra Mega Power projects would generate an additonal 20,000 mw of power for the national grid by 2012 under a unique public-private partnership configeration.
Speaking to newspersons here at the end of his one-day whrilwind maiden visit to the state after assuming the charge last month, Mr Shinde said a number of reputed private operators had evinced keen interest along with public sector giants like the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and the Powergrid Corporation of India in participating the project under joint venture.
He, however, did not disclose the names of interested private operators and said they were both from within the country and outside.
He said of the five projects the Expression of Interests (EOI) had been sought for the Mundra Port ultra mega power project in Maharashtra and the Sasan ultra mega power project in Madhya Pradesh which was based on coal.
Preliminary work for selecting the right partners was also likely to begin very soon for the three other similar Ultra Mega Projects which were coming in the Konkon area of Maharashtra, at Karwar in Karnataka and in Akareri in Chattisgarh states respectively.
Evaluation of all these projects in terms of their viability as well as the availability of raw materials like coal and gas would be determined by December this year, the Power minister said but did not rule out the possibility of establishing some more such ultra mega power projects elsewhere in the country, particularly in the East, in near future.
About the chances of uninterrupted supply of gas in some of the projects, Mr Shinde said following detailed discussions with the union Petroleum minister the matter was sorted out. At present the country had a huge stock of Mythene which could take care of peak hour of supply for several months, he said.
Underscoring the need for improving the per capita consumption of power in India which presently stood at only 615 units per annum, compared to 1900 units in China and over 2210 units in the USA, Mr Shinde hoped that the setting up of more such ultra mega power plants would go a long way in bridging the gap in due course.
The defecit of power in India at present varied between eight per cent and 11 per cent during peak and off peak periods, the power minister said replying to another query and hoped that with the installations of 15 more power stations by the NTPC within the next few years the situation would considerably improve both in terms of generation and transmission of power.
He, however, categorically denied the allegation that East zone was being neglected for allocating new mega projects and said on the contrary the country's largest power plant with the generation capacity of 3500 mw was set up at Talcher in Orissa followed by the one in Farakka which was proposed to generate 2100 mw after the expansion.
Besides Mr Shinde, Union Power Secretary R V Sahi and NTPC Chairman C P Jain were present.