South India risks power shortage from 2 GW shutdown

The government of the eastern Indian state of Orissa has asked the state-run NTPC power company to shut the 2 GW stage-II of the coal fired Talcher Super Thermal Power Station over concerns about fly ash disposal.

NTPC has already closed two units, each of 500 MW, at Talcher stage-II following a closure notice from the Orissa State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) on 28 June.

“We expect NTPC to shut down the remaining two units by tomorrow,” OSPCB member secretary Siddhanta Das told the Press Trust of India (PTI).

The plant’s stage-II has four units of 500 MW each and supplies electricity to the southern states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, said Power Ministry sources, according to PTI.

Disrupting supply from the Talcher plant could trigger severe power problems in southern states, most of which already face electricity shortages.

NTPC submitted an action plan to better manage fly ash from the plant on Monday, said OSPCB. But the action plan failed to satisfy the pollution control board. “We have asked them (NTPC) to come up with alternatives,” said Das.

The pollution control board has raised concerns that fly ash from the plant could pollute nearby crops and rivers. Das said NTPC has been warned over fly ash management for two to three years.

The Talcher plant has a total capacity of 3 GW.

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