Rainfall deficiency in Maharashtra — which has led to drought in the state — will also impact the power sector. While the Parli thermal power station at Beed in drought-affected Marathwada has been shut down due to lack of water, the commissioning of a 250 MW set at the plant will be affected due to water scarcity.
However, Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (MahaGenco) officials said the commissioning of 2,980 MW capacity, namely three supercritical sets with of 660 MW each at Koradi and two 500 MW units at Chandrapur, would ensure that the state, which is already in a surplus position, would not have to face power cuts.
The state-owned electricity generation utility is also planning to source sewage water from nearby cities for their thermal power plants. This will make more water available for purposes like drinking and irrigation, especially in view of the erratic monsoons in Maharashtra and prevent situations like the one at Parli, where plants have to be shut down due to lack of water. Coal-based thermal power — which at 7,980 MW accounts for bulk (70%) of the MahaGenco's 11,237 MW capacity — is a huge water guzzler.
"Three 210 MW sets and two 250 MW units at Parli have been shut down since July this year due to lack of water," the official said adding that the commissioning of another 250 MW set would be affected.
"The set was expected to be in service by March, but now, we are planning to just conduct trials and commission it only after we get water (during or after the next monsoons)," he said. The coal linkages for the Parli units have been diverted to other power stations.
"Since the Koradi and Chandrapur units will be commissioned in a few months time, this will not affect the power supply situation," the official explained. The Parli plant has a 1,130 MW installed capacity and draws water from Khadka barrage, which in turn is fed by the Majalgaon dam.
"We however plan to source sewage water from municipal corporations for our plants and are conducting a study," the official said. The MahaGenco has seven thermal power stations across the state — Koradi, Chandrapur, Paras, Bhusawal, Nashik, Parli and Khaparkheda.
He added that they were planning to get sewage water from Nanded city for Parli and a consultant had been appointed. Tenders would be floated in November. "This will meet at least half of our requirements of water for our boilers," the official said, adding that waste water from Nagpur city would be used for the Koradi project.
Similarly, MahaGenco is also exploring the possibility of using sewage from Nashik city for the Nashik thermal power station, Akola for the Paras project and also in Chandrapur. In Chandrapur, where the utility has the Erai dam to meet the water requirements of the largest (2,340 MW) thermal power station in Maharashtra, this will make more water available for irrigation and drinking water.
However, the official said they felt that continuing to lift water from the Tapi river for the Bhusawal project would make economic sense.
In the past as well, MahaGenco has faced situations where it has had to shut down sets due to lack of water. For instance, a 210 MW set at Parli had been shut down earlier this year and in 2012, the project had been shut down for similar reasons. The Chandrapur plant had faced a partial shutdown due to lack of water in 2010.