Flexible operation of coal-fired power plants in India: Workshops in Kolkata and Ahmedabad
Representatives of the VGB and its member companies exchanged ideas with Indian industry experts about the need for flexible power plant operation and what options are available. The meetings took place in the states of West Bengal and Gujarat.
More than 160 participants joined the workshops that took place in Kolkata on February 4 and in Ahmedabad on February 6. This number far exceeded the expectations of the organizer, the Excellence Enhancement Center (EEC). The Indian partner organization of the VGB organized these events with the aim of sensitizing the Indian energy industry to the need for flexible power plant operation for coal-fired power plants and to present promising technical and organizational measures.
Profitability is a particular challenge
In addition to the VGB, the member companies RWE, Steag and Siemens presented their experiences, which they gained in international projects related to the flexibilization of thermal power plants. In addition, the state electricity generators – West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited and Gujarat State Electricity Board – stated that they have started investigating flexible power plant operation and have already carried out according test runs in their power plants. Representatives of the private power producer Adani Power Maharastra Ltd also pointed out the particular challenge of operating thermal power plants both flexibly and profitably.
Representatives of the Central Electricity Agency (CEA) made it clear that the state institutions are aware of the challenge and are working on solutions and suitable tariff systems. The transition of the Indian energy system is moving forward in great strides – according to a recent CEA study, in 2030 over 50 percent of the electricity will be generated from the variable energy resources such as wind and solar PV. On the one hand, flexible coal-fired power plants with minimum loads of at least 55 percent are required. On the other hand, further flexibility and supply options have to be developed. The study sees particularly great potential in hydropower and in stationary battery systems.
Both workshops were organized under the auspices of the Indo-German Energy Forum (IGEF) with the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ). As part of the IGEF activities, the VGB is working with the EEC on other project schemes related to flexible coal-fired power plants.