Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) have signed a Memorandum of Loan Agreement (MoA) with SJVN Thermal Private Ltd (STPL) to finance the 1,320 MW coal-based Buxar Thermal Power Plant (BTPP) in Bihar, even as its project cost increased by at least Rs 1,733 crore in over three years. The power plant, though not a new announcement, signifies India’s continued reliance on coal for power generation despite the government simultaneously having big-ticket renewable energy plans. To meet its peak power demand which is increasing by about 11% annually, coal-fired electricity constitutes about 75% of the total power mix that is used for consumption as of now. This is despite the fact that India has already exceeded its target of having 40% of installed power capacity in the form of renewable energy.
Senior power ministry officials said the Buxar plant will require 4.976 million tonnes of coal annually for which long-term coal linkage has been approved by the coal ministry.
The coal-based TPP to be commissioned in Buxar district’s Chausa village will have two units of 660 MW each. It is a greenfield project designed on supercritical technology and is expected to improve the deficit power scenario in Bihar and the eastern region. The Bihar government has already signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the supply of not less than 85 percent of the generated power from BTPP. After foraying into hydropower projects, this is STPL’s first project of building a thermal power plant. The BTPP is likely to be commissioned by 2024.
Another coal-based TPP of 1,320 MW is coming up at Khurja in Uttar Pradesh. This plant also is being built on supercritical technology.