Indo-German Energy Forum: Roundtable on "Flexible coal-fired power plants – a sustainable solution"
On 4 October 2018, representatives of ministries, governmental institutions, associations, and industry met in New Delhi to discuss the flexible operation of coal-fired power plants. The event was organized by the Excellence Enhancement Center (EEC) under the auspices of the Indo-German Energy Forum (IGEF). A delegation of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) took the opportunity to inform themselves about the situation in India.
Flexible coal-fired power plants are an important focus of the IGEF. A dedicated task force, headed by Director Operations at NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation), manages the activities. These activities cover all facets necessary for the flexible coal-fired power plant operation. Such flexibility is an important prerequisite for the development of renewable energy in India - its capacity is expected to increase from the current 72,000 MW to 175,000 MW in 2022.
Technical feasibility, capacity building and framework
The activities of the Flexibility Task Force have three objectives: demonstrating the technical feasibility, capacity building and providing recommendations for optimized framework conditions. These activities also included three studies coordinated by EEC, which were handed over during the event. One of them has been developed by Kraftwerksschule e.V., thus presenting a concept for a training program for Indian power plant personnel. Another study by Ernst & Young India provides an overview of the current market conditions for flexible power plant operation. In addition, the VGB had developed a Flexibility Toolbox - a compilation of technical measures that has been available online since April 2018.
In a roundtable discussion, the focus was on the economic viability of flexible power plant operation. The panelists exchanged views on the different market models in India and Germany. It was agreed that proposals for a market system providing incentives for flexibility should be the subject of future work within the IGEF.
Further concrete steps are planned to implement the flexibilization measures that have been developed by an expert team from EEC, Siemens and VGB for the NTPC-operated Dadri power plant. The action plan is currently under consideration by the Flexibility Task Force. In addition to NTPC, GIZ, EEC and VGB, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the network operator POSOCO (Power System Operation Corporation Ltd.) and BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.) are members of this task force. It has already given the green light for the start of the training program. Therefore, a one-week intensive training course for Indian power plant personnel in Germany is planned this year.