Power project orders worth Rs 40,000 crore in sight

Power plant suppliers in India and abroad will soon be submitting bids for a massive power plant order. The government’s Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure has approved bulk ordering for 4 large power projects. These power plants will be built using supercritical technology. The government announced this in a statement released yesterday.

The government will float a bulk tender for these power plants, a unique feature. NTPC will be the nodal agency as most of these power plants are being built by it, some of it through joint ventures. Damodar Valley Corporation is the exception. NTPC will invite bids for 5 power plants being built at Nabinagar (Bihar), Meja (UP), Mouda Extension (Maharashtra), Solapur (Maharashtra) and Koderma – Phase 2 (Jharkand). The Koderma plant will be set up by DVC.

Bidders will be able to bid for two packages covering all 5 power projects, which involve the setting up of 11 660MW units (2 each for 4 projects and 3 for one project). One package will cover boilers and the other will cover steam turbine generator islands. By splitting the two packages, the government will ensure that there are enough bidders in each category. It also wants to speed up the process by not having separate bids for each plant. Once the formal approvals are in place, NTPC will invite bids within 45 days for these projects. These projects will be set up in phases and are expected to start functioning in the 12th 5-year plan period (2012-2017).

The government has identified three potential bidders for the boiler package: BHEL-Alstom, L&T Mitsubishi and GB Engg-Ansaldo. The government expects 4 bidders for the STG package: BHEL-Siemens, L&T Mitsubishi, Bharat Forge-Alstom and Toshiba-JSW. While the government is giving bidders the possibility of getting all five bids at one shot, it is imposing the condition of phased indigenous manufacturing of supercritical equipment in the country. At present, BHEL has the capability of making supercritical units in the country.

What is super critical technology? This definition from www.greenfacts.org explains it well. Power plants that run on coal generate power by burning coal to boil water and the steam generated runs turbines, generating power. Older plants used to run on technology which operated at a level below the critical pressure of water while supercritical plants operate at a higher level. This results in better efficiency and lower emissions. Thus, for the same amount of coal, you can generate more power and lesser emissions, paying off in the longer run.

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