India’s largest Thermal Power Plants

Thermal power plants, producing energy from coal, gas and diesel constitute 69.52% of the installed capacity of India.  Of this, 60.59% {or 87% within the thermal power} is shared by coal. India’s 80% coal produced is consumed by coal based power plants only and despite that we need to continuously import coal.

Important Thermal Power Plants

Currently India has around 116 coal based thermal power plants. Of these, Vindhyachal Thermal Power Station at Singrauli district in Madhya Pradesh is the largest power station with an installed capacity of 4760 MW. This is followed by Mundra Thermal Power Station (Adani Power) with installed capacity of 4620MW, Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project (Tata Power) with 4000MW and Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (Reliance Infrastructure) Sasan with 3960 MW power generation capacity.

Key Constraints in Coal Based Plants

The constraint of coal quality and quantity has been a major bottleneck in growth of thermal power. Most of the coal produced in India is Gondwana coal, which is of low calorific value and high ash content, thus the fuel value is poor. Due to high ash content, government has mandated the use of beneficiated/ blended coals whose ash content has been reduced to maximum of 34%, in power plants located beyond 1000 km from pitheads, and those located in critically polluted areas, urban areas, and ecologically sensitive areas.

India has an extensive review process, one that includes environment impact assessment, prior to a thermal power plant being approved for construction and commissioning. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has published a technical guidance manual to help project proposers and to prevent environmental pollution in India from thermal power plants.