Monarchak (Tripura): North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) has commissioned a five-MW solar power plant at Monarchak in Tripura, which will be the biggest and the first of its kind in northeast India.
"We started generation of power from the solar power plant from Wednesday. The full (5-MW) commercial generation would start within a month after completing some technicalities," NEEPCO general manager S.R. Biswas told IANS.
The solar power plant was commissioned at a cost of Rs.40 crore. The entire power from the plant would be transmitted to the Tripura power grid.
Biswas said NEEPCO will set up a 50-MW solar power plant in Madhya Pradesh and a two-MW plant in Lanka in Nagaon district of Assam.
"As per the government policy, NEEPCO has initiated the process to set up more and more solar, non-conventional and renewable power plants in various parts of the country," he said.
Meanwhile, after a huge delay, the ONGC Sunday night started supplying gas to NEEPCO's 101-MW capacity power plant in Monarchak, 70 km south of Tripura capital Agartala and just eight km from the Bangladesh border.
NEEPCO, a mini-ratna company under the union power ministry, has set up the Rs.9.5 billion (nearly $150 million) gas-based power plant in Monarchak.
Biswas said if the supply of gas from ONGC remains uninterrupted, the power project would start generation of electricity from March and the full commercial generation (101 MW) of power would start from August.
He said non-supply of gas by ONGC resulted in loss of Rs.5 crore a month.
The foundation stone of the Monarchak power project was laid during the previous National Democratic Alliance government in March 2002 and the Tripura government allotted the required land to NEEPCO in 2003.
By using the latest technology, the generation capacity of three existing power plants in Tripura will be augmented by around 70 MW without increasing fuel consumption.
To enhance the production capacity of two gas-based power plants and one hydel power project, NEEPCO in association with the Tripura government would invest Rs.500 crore.
The Rokhia and Baramura gas-based power plants in Tripura are at present in the open cycle system. Both the power plants would be converted into the combined cycle mode to generate additional power without using extra fuel, Biswas said.
"Currently, both plants are generating 103 MW and after conversion into the combined cycle mode, their capacity would be 163 MW," he said.
An open cycle system has a combustion turbine plant fired by liquid fuel that runs a generator which produces electricity.
A combined cycle system also uses gas turbines to produce electricity, but the waste heat from the turbines is captured in heat recovery steam generators where it produces steam to power steam turbines and generate more power without using additional fuel.
NEEPCO would also increase the capacity of the Dambur hydel power plant, commissioned in 1974, from 8 MW to 15 MW.