India’s Power needs are soaring, fueled by a growing population, rapid urbanisation, and ambitious economic plans. Meeting these demands while responsibly stewarding the environment and securing its energy future for generations to come requires a multifaceted approach. Energy is a key source of economic growth because many production and consumption activities involve energy as a basic input. While meeting the energy demands of the present generation, it is essential to consider the needs of future generations. Striking a balance between economic growth and environmental preservation is the hallmark of responsible power generation. This involves ongoing research, policy development and a commitment to adopt emerging technologies that align with sustainability goals.
Responsible power generation involves harnessing energy in ways that minimise environmental impact and prioritise long-term sustainability. Moreover, responsible power generation extends beyond the choice of energy sources. It encompasses efficient energy use, innovative technologies, and community involvement. Smart grids, energy storage solutions, and demand-side management play pivotal roles in optimising power consumption and reducing waste.
India set up a target of 500 GW of electricity from non-fossil fuel-based sources by 2030 and is aiming to have NET ZERO emission by 2070.
Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Ltd (Mahagenco) was established in 2005 after the restructuring of the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) and as on date Mahagenco has a total balanced power generation capacity of 13170 MW comprising Thermal power capacity of 9540 MW, Gas 672 MW, Hydro 2580 MW and Solar Power 378 MW. Mahagenco is the company with the highest power generation capacity among all State Power Generation Companies in the country and Mahagenco is the second largest power generation company in India after NTPC Limited.
The emerging scenario of the Power sector in India provides significant risks to conventional generators and at the same time provides ample opportunities of growth through integration of technologies with renewable power. Accordingly, Mahagenco has identified its areas of weaker area of various projects as well as existing plants activities which requires consistent improvements with corrective, preventive, predictive & innovative actions – Essential Renovation & Modernization, Spares & Resource Management, Coal availability and its competitive sourcing are the top priority elements. At the same time, Mahagenco is planning its O&M initiatives in order to achieve regulatory parameters and also to reduce disallowances to ensure full fixed cost recovery.
Mahagenco has an objective of building a ‘Green Maharashtra’ using non-conventional green energy and providing maximum and cheapest electricity to the people of Maharashtra. Considering the future need of green energy, Mahagenco is taking various measures to increase the capacity of Renewable Energy projects including solar projects. As per the Renewable Energy Policy of Government of Maharashtra, the following activities will be implemented in the next few years with the aim of developing various eco-friendly renewable energy projects and to meet the increasing demand of electricity in the state of Maharashtra.
Mahagenco is focusing on the RE bundling scheme as per guidelines of the Ministry of Power, Government of India. Bundling scheme is helpful to achieve a minimum 43.33 % share of RE energy up to 2029-30 by minimising thermal energy with renewable energy to reduce environmental impact. Accordingly, a minimum target of 1692 MW capacity has been given to Mahagenco up to 2025-26. In addition to bundling, MoP has issued a resolution dated 27.02.2023 regarding 40 % RGO for units commissioned after 1st April 2023. Accordingly, Mahagenco has planned to commission 2234 MW solar projects under bundling & RGO schemes by year 2026.Mahagenco will also make a foray into Energy Storage Solutions such as battery storage & Pump Storage plants, an emerging area which can play an important role in grid integration & balancing of variable generation sources.
Mahagenco is committed to green energy generation in line with guidelines from GoI/GoM from time to time for achieving the further goal of De-carbonization to minimise carbon footprint. The CMAGF scheme will help to reduce the existing load on agriculture feeders resulting in minimum distribution losses and day time reliable green energy to the farmers. Mahagenco Renewable Energy Limited is formed as a new RE Company which will further help to diversify the business of Mahagenco.
Mahagenco has undertaken a number of measures to control pollution, hazardous waste management, and ash utilisation. The aim is to meet the norms prescribed by the competent authorities and play the role of an environmentally responsible organization. The basic thrust areas for Mahagenco in this regard are environment protection, ash utilisation, community development, and energy conservation. Mahagenco believes in the up-lift and empowerment of the local communities in and around its project sites, especially with regards to their human development index.
Mahagenco strongly believes in conservation of natural resources through maximum recycling of resources. Towards this purpose, Mahagenco has ash water recovery systems, effluent treatment plants, and the like. Rainwater harvesting is also being practised to support water criticality. A Green belt has been developed by planting a large number of trees in the power station colony area of Mahagenco. Tree plantation is one of the most effective tools for elevation of deteriorated environmental conditions. All TPSs of Mahagenco meet the norm of minimum 33% tree plantation in open areas.
While conserving the environmental aspects, a sincere effort is being made by Mahagenco to bring the carbon footprint from its power stations to zero or negligible levels. The system of continuous monitoring of air quality has been installed at different places in the vicinity of thermal power stations.
Mahagenco is concentrating on emerging trends in the power generation sector in view of a more sustainable, responsible, energy-efficient and environmentally conscious future. It is a crucial shift towards embracing 24×7 renewable energy as a core component of global energy strategies, which will reflect a collective realisation of the immediate actions to address climate change and resource sustainability, encouraging innovative solutions and fostering a deeper commitment to preserving our planet for future generations.
THERMAL/GAS CAPACITY ADDITION & MINING:
- Installation of 1 X 660 MW Supercritical coal base unit at Bhusawal TPS by Mahagenco is in progress and the said project is expected to be operational in March-2024. Due to Supercritical Technology, the efficiency of the Unit will be increased and comparatively less coal will be required for power generation and the electricity consumers of Maharashtra will get the benefit of reduced variable cost. This technology will also help to balance the environment by helping to reduce the emission levels.
- In addition, 660 MW, two sets are proposed at Koradi Thermal Power Station and considering the future demand of electricity, one set of 660 MW OR 800 MW at Chandrapur is under consideration.
- Mahagenco has proposed replacement project for capacity addition at GTPS Uran 850 MW (Retrofitting/ Replacement of existing 672 MW CCPP; i.e. Capacity addition of @178 MW) in view to strengthen Mumbai Grid. Implementation of the project is subject to availability of required gas.
- Coal Mining Agreement (CMA) for Gare Palma-II coal mine in Chhattisgarh has been signed by Mahagenco. ‘Forest Clearance’ and ‘Environmental Clearance’ are received. Pre-development activities like Mining lease, Land Acquisition etc. are in progress. Mine opening is expected in FY 2024-25.
RENEWABLE ENERGY SOLAR / WIND/ PUMP STORAGE PROJECTS: SOLAR PROJECTS:
- Mahagenco has so far commissioned a total of 378 MW of Solar Energy Projects, out of which Mahagenco has completed pilot projects of 148 MW capacity while implementing the innovative “Chief Minister Agriculture Feeder Scheme” to provide electricity supply to the farmers. The main target is to provide power for at least 12 hours a day to farmers. Since the prices of the electric supply system are cheaper, the farmers will be able to use them as production units at lesser costs. Hence, it will boost agricultural production.
- Under CMAGF scheme, Further Mahagenco has planned 570 MW projects under Chief Minister Agriculture Feeder Scheme. In addition, under Chief Minister Agriculture Feeder – EOI schemes, 600 MW solar projects are planned.
- Govt. of Maharashtra has given clearance to form Joint Venture between NTPC & Mahagenco for 2500 MW Solar Park Projects from which Mahagenco’s share will be 1250 MW.
- Mahagenco proposed to develop EPC Solar Project for RE Bundling which is the highest Solar Power Generation Plant (250 MW) in Maharashtra at Dondaicha, Dist. Dhule.
- A 105 MW floating solar power project on Irai Dam at Chandrapur is proposed under the UMREPP scheme of the Department of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) policy under JV with SJVN.
- Mahagenco has prepared a RE capacity addition plan of 8644 MW up to year 2030 which comprises Bundling with Thermal, Solar for PSP pumping, Green Hydrogen/ammonia, floating, etc projects.
PUMP STORAGE PROJECTS (PSP):
- It is proposed to develop the project preferably in association with the Water Resources Department at Panshet, Varasgaon, Kodali, Koyna Dam foot and Ghatghar @ (3350 MW) as per recent Pump Storage Project policy by the Water Resources Department, Government of Maharashtra.
OTHER RE PROJECTS:
- Mahagenco has signed MoU with Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVN), a CPSU for development of RE projects up to 5000 MW including Pumped Storage Plant (PSP), solar, wind, green hydrogen, floating solar and hybrid projects.
- Mahagenco has signed MoU with Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA) for the development of 120 MW wind-solar Hybrid power Project on MEDA land through JV.
- Mahagenco has signed MoU with Mahatma Phule Krushi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri, Dist. Ahmednagar for the development of a 100 MW solar power Project on Agriculture university land.
- Green Hydrogen Project is proposed at Bhusawal Thermal Power Station for setting up 20 Nm3/hr and 500 KW solar plant. In addition, a 62 MW Solar Power Project is proposed at Paras TPS under the RE Bundling Scheme.
- RE Bundling: 1692 MW Solar power Bundling with Thermal power for maximum use of Solar RE power and saving of coal for Environment protection, tendering process is in full swing.
- Mahagenco has collaborated with Circular Economy Alliance Australia (CEAA) and formed Maharashtra Australia Sustainable Energy Alliance (MHAUSEA) to establish platform to forge strong technology & knowledge partnership between Maharashtra and Australia to focus on, implementation of various RE projects, Green Hydrogen/Ammonia, Innovations in fly ash utilisation and Carbon Capture Projects.
ENVIRONMENT SAFETY & IMPROVEMENT:
FGD installation and ESP Retrofitting:
- To control pollution and emission level of Thermal Power Plant, as per revised pollution standards of Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Water and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Mahagenco has taken up the work of installation of FGD system & ESP retrofitting for Thermal Power Stations which is in operation. LOA is issued for installation of FGD plant 8X 500 MW, Paras 250 MW (Unit 3 & 4), Khaparkheda 210 MW (Unit 3 & 4) and Koradi 3X660 MW & 210 MW (U-6) and ESP retrofitting work at Chandrapur 500 MW (Unit 5 & 6) and work is in progress.
Coal transportation through Pipe Conveyor:
- Mahagenco has decided to implement the Pipe Conveyor System for significant reduction in dust pollution caused by heavy Road Traffic in the mine area, possible vehicle accidents will be prevented and reduction in loss of coal during Rail and Road transport to ensure reliable supply of coal to Mahagenco at low cost.
- Mahagenco implemented the scheme in September 2021 for transporting coal from Bhatadi Coal Mine to Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station through Pipe Conveyor using Pipe Conveyor which is an advance eco-friendly technology.
- The scheme for transportation of coal through pipe conveyors from Gondegaon, Bhanegaon, Singori coal mine etc to Koradi and Khaparkheda TPS is in progress and is expected to be commissioned in the year 2023-24.
For 100% recycling of fly ash generated after coal combustion, various initiatives are implemented by Mahagenco. This ash is made available through silos almost free of charge or at very low cost to the interested industries. Mahagenco intends to set up a cement plant / state of the art unit of cement plant at Koradi, Khaparkheda and Chandrapur thermal power station and is also planning to set up fly ash bricks clusters in the area for traditional brick kiln holders.
Sewage Treatment Plant
- Mahagenco and Nagpur Municipal Corporation has jointly commissioned a 130 MLD Sewage Treatment Plant at Bhandewadi for supplying water to Koradi Power Station.
- 190 M.L.D. capacity Sewage Treatment Plant is commissioned in which 90 MLD of treated sewage is being used for Koradi Thermal Power Station and 100 MLD of treated sewage is being used for Khaparkheda Thermal Power Plant.
- For 79 MLD sewage treatment plant at Chandrapur, about 90% work has been completed and supply of 50 MLD sewage water will be started soon.
- Construction of sewage treatment plants is also proposed at Bhusawal, Parli and Paras.
A green belt has been developed by planting a large number of trees in the power station colony area of Mahagenco. Tree Plantation is one of the most effective tools for elevation of deteriorated environmental conditions. All TPS of Mahagenco meet the norm of minimum 33% Tree Plantation in open areas.
MAHAGENCO WAY AHEAD
Mahagenco is leveraging new, clean technologies for seamless integration of renewable energy into the grid. It has similarly undertaken various new initiatives for digitalisation and to improve the efficiencies of the coal value chain. Mahagenco is looking into asset performance management, station heat rate optimisation, floating solar plants, hybrid plants, flexibilization of existing thermal plants, and robotics and automation to control critical activities. With all these efforts, Mahagenco will be able to provide high quality customer service and foster the socioeconomic growth of our state, thereby serving our nation.
Mahagenco is going for thermal generation in an eco-friendly manner and also progressing towards non conventional energy sources mainly Solar, Wind, PSP energy with an ambitious plan of its massive capacity addition, which will help Mahageno to be a power generating entity worth 25+ GW by 2030.
In conclusion, sustainable & responsible power generation is a multifaceted approach that goes beyond meeting the current energy needs. It involves a conscientious effort to protect the environment, promote sustainability, and ensure a legacy of clean energy for generations to come.
Views expressed by: Dr. P. Anbalagan, Chairman & Managing Director, Maharashtra State Power Generation Company LimitedBe a part of Elets Collaborative Initiatives. Join Us for Upcoming Events and explore business opportunities. Like us on Facebook , connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter , Instagram.