Bithnok Thermal Power Project

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The Bithnok Thermal Power Project is a 250-megawatt (MW) coal fired power station proposed by Neyveli Lignite Corporation for Rajasthan, India.

Location

The map below shows the location of Bithnok village, not the exact location of the project.

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Background

In its July 2010 annual report NLC stated that in October 2009 the company had applied to the Rajasthan government for the approval of the proposed power station and the Bithnok lignite mine, an associated 2.5 million tonne per annum lignite mine. "Public consultation process has been completed for both Mine and Power Projects. Expert Appraisal Committee of Ministry of Environment and Forests has considered the mining project. State Environmental Committee has issued the environmental clearance for the power project. NOC from Airport Authority has been received. Notification has been issued by Government of Rajasthan (GoR) for acquisition of required land for the project. Mining Plan has been approved by MOC and obtaining mining lease from GoR is in process," the company reported.[1]

In its 2012-2013 annual report the company stated that the "Government of Rajasthan has issued award for acquisition of 1175.87 hectares of private land in Bithnok village" for the project. The company stated that it needs to do a social benefit analysis before it can receive environmental clearance from the India government.[2]

In 2014 it was reported the company was still pursuing forest clearance, a necessary step toward environmental clearance.[3] Another 2014 report stated the project has not made progress toward environment clearance for the linked Bithnok mine, which had yet to be issued by MoEF.[4]

In its 2013-2014 annual report NLC stated the Bithnok mine has been recommended for environmental clearance, and the company had applied for forest clearance.[5]

In May 2015 the NLC Board approved the investment decision to set up Bithnok Lignite Mine and Thermal Power Project at a cost of Rs 2,700 crore.[6]

In its 2015 Annual Report, the company described the status of the project as follows:[7]

The Board of Directors of your Company has approved setting up of a lignite based Thermal Power Plant of 250 MW capacity with linked Mine of 2.25 MTPA at Bithnok in Bikaner District, in the State of Rajasthan at an aggregate cost of ₹ 2709.93 crore (Nov 2014). Power Purchase Agreement has been signed with Discoms of Rajasthan. Out of 3091.299 hectares (Ha.) land required for Bithnok TPS and Mine, Government of Rajasthan (GoR) has issued award for acquisition of 1175.87 hectares of private land in Bithnok village and 1863.184 Ha. of Government land will be diverted to your Company by GoR after takeover of the private land. The total land mentioned above included 225 Ha. of land for Thermal Power Station. State level Environmental Impact Assessment Authority, Rajasthan has already issued Environmental Clearance for TPS. In respect of the linked mine, MOE&F has informed that Environmental Clearance could be considered only after the Stage-I Forestry clearance is obtained for the forest land of 52.245 Ha. involved in the project. Obtaining Stage-I Forestry clearance is in progress. Your Company has entered into an agreement for supply of 25 cusecs of water from IGNP for this project. The Board has accorded investment approval for the project. It is proposed to implement the above project through EPC mode and the project is expected to be scommissioned during the year 2019. The Cumulative expenditure incurred up to 31st March 2015 is ₹ 85.04 crore.

In its 2016 annual report, the company described the status of the project as follows:[8]

Your Board of Directors has accorded approval for establishing a lignite based 250 MW Thermal Power Project with a linked mine of 2.25 MTPA capacity at Bithnok, Bikaner District in the State of Rajasthan at an estimated cost of ₹ 2709.93 crore with a scheduled commissioning in December 2019. It has been decided to implement this Project through EPC (Engineering Procurement Construction) mode and accordingly a combined Expression of Interest (EOI) tender was floated along with the Barsingsar Thermal Power Station Extension Project. Scrutiny of offers received from prospective bidders has been completed and bidders shortlisted on Pre-qualification Requirements (PQR) have been issued Techno-commercial specifications. DGPS survey and demarcation work have been completed for the Mine and the Ministry of Coal (MOC) has accorded approval for the revised Mining Plan. MoE&F has issued Environmental Clearance to Bithnok Mine Project. The cumulative expenditure incurred upto 31st March 2016 is ₹ 106.20 crore.

In September 2017 NLC offered to bring tariffs down from the proposed coal plant by about 0.5 rupees per kilowatt hour, taking a hit of 1.5 percentage point to 2 percentage points on the return-on equity. The reduction is to save the plant from cancellation, as the state government reportedly wants to scrap the long-term contracts that were signed in 2010 for the Bithnok and Barsingsar Thermal Power Project, citing the availability of cheaper solar and wind power.[9]

In October 2017 it was reported that a site office had been established for the project. It is planned for completion in 2020. Reliance Power is listed as the EPC contractor. According to the Ministry of Power, Environmental Clearance for the thermal plant was granted on April 30, 2010, and validity extension was under progress.[10]

However, the February 2018 Broad Status of power plants by the India Power Ministry states that "Project activities are under hold from 02.06.2017" as "GoR [Government of Rajasthan] had informed that due to increased project cost and time over run, Rajasthan Discom [distribution company] will not be in position to buy the power from BTPSE [Bithnok Thermal Power Station]. NLCIL [Neyveli Lignite Corporation] had replied that delay is due to acquisition of land by GoR and informed to review the decision. Matter is pending with GoR."[11]

Project Details

Sponsor: Neyveli Lignite Corporation
Location: Bithnok village, Bikaner district, Rajasthan
Coordinates: 27.849853, 72.717276 (approximate)
Status: Pre-permit development
Nameplate capacity: 250 MW
Type:
Projected in service: 2020
Coal Type: Lignite
Coal Source: Bithnok lignite mine
Estimated annual CO2: 1,478,425
Source of financing:
Permits and applications:

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References

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