Raipur: The Karnataka government Monday signed a memorandum of understanding with Chhattisgarh to set up a 1,200 MW thermal power project in this state as it seeks to augment generating capacity at lower costs.
The pit-head station - two 600 MW units - is proposed to be established in Godhna in Janjgir district and is expected to be completed by October 2012, said a Karnataka energy department official.
The pact was inked by senior officials of the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Department and state-owned Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL), which will put up the plant, requiring an investment of Rs6,000 crore.
Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who flew in from Bangalore for the ceremony and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ramansingh were present on the occasion of signing the MoU, touted as a mile-stone in inter-state cooperation.
Power generated at this pit-head plant, the first by KPCL outside the state, is expected to cost Rs2.44 per unit compared to Rs3.90 for a similar venture located in Karnataka, officials said.
Yeddyurappa said it is not economnical to locate thermal power stations in Karnataka, which does not have coal or oil unlike Chhattisgarh and some other states. Transporting coal from these states to Karnataka is very costly.
“If we produce power near the pit-head, the cost of power will come down by 30% to 40%”, he said.
Yeddyurappa said the proposed thermal plant would use coal by increasing demand for power from nearby coalfields and it would make energy far cheaper.
“It will save oil, which would have been spent for transporting about 60 lakh tonnes of coal from here (Chhattisgarh) to Karnataka”, the Karnataka chief minister said. More than half of the manpower for the plant would be recruited from Chhattisgarh, Yeddyurappa said.
“We are also contemplating development of captive coal mines in Chhattisgarh, which will further provide more employment and some income for Chhattisgarh,” he said.
Earlier,the visiting chief minister said the state was experiencing serious difficulties in meeting the fast increasing demand for power for its multi-sided development of the state.
“We have currently a total installed capacity of around 8,930 MW. But our daily demand is around 9,000 MW”, he said. “It is estimated that by the end of the 11th plan, the energy demand in Karnataka would increase to 11,000 MW and by the 12th plan period, it will further increase to 13,092 MW.”
The government has embarked upon an ambitious plan of adding another 10,000 MW before the end of the 12th plan, Yeddyurappa said.
At present, Karnataka produces the highest quantum of hydroelectric power in the country, which is more than 55% of its total supply. “Whatever little potential is still available in the hydel sector is not sufficient to meet the increasing demand for power,” he added.