The Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), the flagship company of Coal India Limited, is going to set up a 1600 MW power plant with super critical technology at its Basundhara area in Sundargarh district in joint venture. MCL would be the only coal company in the country to venture into power generation. It intends to utilise its huge undespatchable coal reserve in Basundhara and invest its own surplus funds creatively. Decks have been cleared for the project with the approval from the Coal Ministry following the ratification of the proposal by MCL and CIL boards.
A special purpose vehicle (SPV) Mahanadi Basin Power Limited has been formed last year. The Director Finance of MCL, Kulamani Biswal, has been appointed as the chairman of the Public Limited Company. According to Biswal, the proposed coal-based power plant would be the first of its kind for the coal behemoth and is estimated to cost around Rs.9000 crore. It will have two 800 MW units of super critical technology, Biswal added. Meanwhile, the Power Finance Commission has been appointed as the consultant.
MCL’s new venture stemmed from the accumulating coal stocks produced in Basundhara due to lack of evacuation facilities. The stock will be too high in future when the area will achieve the optimum capacity to produce 40 MT of coal per annum. Also the company has surplus funds. As per the Central guidelines it needs to be invested. In view of the country’s energy needs, MCL decided to step into the power sector in addition to coal production. The power plant is likely to be operational during the Twelfth five year plan period.