Almost three years after it was shut for want of fuel, private utility Essar Power is planning to start operations at its 500-MW natural gas-based power plant at Hazira in Gujarat in the next qutiarter, a top company official said.
The Bhander Power-Hazira plant was commissioned in 2006 and had commenced full commercial operations in October 2008. Due to high prices of fuel, the company had kept the operations suspended for the past three years.
The Bhander Power-Hazira plant is a natural gas-fired combined-cycle captive power plant. “We had shut operations at two of our gas-based plants with a capacity of 500 MW and 515 MW each at Hazira due to non-availability of the fuel. What was available was so expensive, almost at $12-14 per mmbtu, that we could not even dream of generating power so we had to shut operations,” company’s Executive Vice-Chairman Sushil Maroo told the source.
However, since the prices are now falling, the company will commence operations at least at the Bhander plant in the next quarter, he said. “The prices have gone down to almost $4.5-5 per mmbtu. Though we expect it to further come down to a comfortable level, at this rate also we can at least start instead of keeping the plant idle,” Maroo said.
He said the idea is to operate it at an optimal capacity and the company will sell the power to Essar Steel, which is responsible for providing the natural gas required for the plant.
Maroo further said the company has also kept the 515-MW Essar Power-Hazira power plant on ready mode but will operationalise it only if gas prices go down further. The Essar Power-Hazira is a multi-fuel (naphtha, high-speed diesel, natural gasoline liquid and/or natural gas) combined-cycle power plant.