Delhi, which has a demand for nearly 6,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity during the summer months, could be reeling under power cuts due to shortages during the 2016 summer, as two major power stations in the city have stopped power generation to the tune of a whopping 700 MW. The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has permanently shut down the Rajghat power plant and restricted power production in the Badarpur power plant to only one unit against its capacity of four units. Together, the power plants generated 835 MW of power that catered to the walled city and to parts of south Delhi.
Sukesh Kumar Jain, secretary to the Department of Power, Delhi government, however, said that Delhi would not be facing power outages at any point.
“Delhi has a surplus of power supply, so the question of shortage of power does not arise. We have a surplus of 1,200 MW of power, and thus we even provide the surplus to our neighbouring states, and a loss of 700 MW can be made up. During peak times in summer last year, we saw the highest demand going up to about 5900 MW and we are capable of handling such a demand. In case the need arises for a demand of over 6000 MW of power, we have stand-by plans ready. We have the Bawana power plant as our backup. It is a gas-based power plant and can be started at any point when the need arises. So Delhi can rest assured that it will see no power shortage in the near future,” Jain told The Sunday Guardian.
Following the alarming levels of pollution in the city, the government had taken a slew of measures and among them was the shutting down of the Rajghat and the Badarpur power plants in the capital.
Haroon Yusuf, former power minister of Delhi, has, however, contested the government’s claim of 1,200 MW of surplus power. “This government just takes decisions without having alternative plans. The decision to shut the Badarpur plant would lead to the entire south Delhi reeling under power shortages, as this plant caters to the power demand of that area,” Yusuf said, adding that the power curve of Delhi is very erratic and power demands change with time. “This year during summer, we could see a demand of over 6080 MW of power. I fail to understand where this government will arrange this surplus from.They make tall claims without doing their homework,” he said.
Following the alarming levels of pollution in the city, the Delhi government had taken a slew of measures, among which was the shutting down of the Rajghat and the Badarpur power plants in the capital. The Rajghat power plant has, however, been shut down completely, but one of the units in the Badarpur power station is still generating about 210 MW of power against its sanctioned capacity of 705 MW. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has been monitoring the pollution level at the Badarpur plant and a decision to permanently shut down the plant could be taken after 15 March.
The Delhi government is also contemplating to move an application in the National Green Tribunal for the closure of the Dadri power plant in Uttar Pradesh as the Delhi government considers it to be contributing to pollution in the capital. Sources in NTPC said that the Dadri and Badarpur plants have been operating under the pollution norms and the question of their closure does not arise.
“We have not received any notice on Dadri, and the Badarpur plant was checked by the DPCC and all our plants are operating well under the pollution norms. Let us receive a notice and we will decide on our future course of action based on that,” a source said.
“The government has taken the drastic step to close down the Rajghat plant and restrict the Badarpur plant keeping in mind the alarming levels of pollution in the city. These two plants had been one of the major contributors of pollution; thus, we had no option but to take such measures. Our health comes first,” Jain said, adding that the government has been paying the 300-odd employees associated with the Rajghat power plant even when the plant has stopped operating.