The state government has decided to cap thermal power production and not invest in such plants henceforth.
“Karnataka Power Corporation Limited has decided to stop investing in thermal power plants any more. The existing plants will keep running and meet the state’s demands,” said KPCL managing director V Ponnuraj.
However, according to sources in the energy department, the state is going a step further and considering phasing out thermal power plants in three to five years.
“With the thermal power sector being a dying market and more research being undertaken on power storage vis-a-vis renewable energy, Karnataka will consider the possibility of phasing out the plants,” said a senior government official.
But Ponnuraj said existing thermal plants will continue to provide stability to the state’s energy demands, given the uncertainty in the renewable energy sector.
“As per Government of India’s energy policy, power generation has been divided into three categories – base-load power, round-the-clock power and peak-load power. In Karnataka, we expect thermal power plants to continue providing base-load power until there are some kind of energy storage devices, which may be developed and utilised,” said Ponnuraj.
According to the IAS officer, the three major thermal power plants are functioning in the range of 95 to 105 per cent of the unit capacity. Of their 13 units, 12 are functioning; a technical issue is being sorted out at the second unit at Yeramarus (Raichur).
‘Raichur economy may be hit’
Government officials say Raichur legislators are anxious over the possibility of thermal plants being phased out.