GNDTP Bathinda power station

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Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) is a 460-megwatt (MW) coal-fired power station in Punjab, India.

Location

This map shows the location of the now shutdown plant in Bathinda village, on Bathinda-Malout Road.

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Background

Construction on GNDTP Bathinda power station's four 110 MW units began in 1969. The first unit was commissioned in September 1974 and the others were subsequently commissioned in September 1975, March 1978, and January 1979. The plant was originally planned to be operational for 25 years. "Restoration and modernization" were completed on units 1 and 2 between 2004 and 2007. Units 3 and 4 were scheduled for restoration on November 14, 2006, but due to "non-availability of certain critical components", the renovation of unit 3 was rescheduled to be finished by October 15, 2010 and unit 4 for September 15, 2011, but were not completed until 2012 to 2014. The goal of restoration and modernization, according to the Punjab State Power Corporation (formerly known as PSEB), is "to restore or increase capacity of units" (units 1 & 2 to remain 110 MW, 3 & 4 to increase to 120 MW each), to "allow the plants to run safely and efficiently for another 20 years", and to "adhere to environmental standards of the Pollution Control Board."[1][2]

Retirement

After completing a renovation in 2014 to extend its lifetime, the coal plant was retired in September 2017, as the plant was not able to meet the minimum environmental and emission norms. Plant owner PSPCL said India's Central Electricity Authority (CEA) had laid out certain guidelines to phase out all fuel-based thermal plants which were older than 25 years. PSPCL said it was now examining a proposal to set up a 100 MW solar plant in Bathinda.[3]

On December 20, 2017, the Punjab cabinet approved the closure of inefficient power units at GNDTP Bathinda and Ropar thermal plant. Under the decision, all units of GNDTP Bathinda will close January 1, 2018.[4]

Citizen opposition

Residents of Bathinda have been fighting the plant for the past decade because of the large amount of ash and other pollution it emits. Residents created a Joint Action Committee (JAC) to fight coal ash pollution created by the plant. M M Behal, convener of the JAC of Bathinda, said, "It seems the state government is not serious about pollution caused by the thermal plants in Bathinda... Earlier we were facing the problem of high level of fly ash and coal smoke, but after National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning found traces of radioactive thorium and uranium in the fly ash lying at a thermal plant in Maharashtra, out worries have increased manifold. We are planning to approach the high court once again," said Behal. Bathinda residents contacted the Human Rights Commission to ask for protection from the pollution. In addition, the JAC filed a petition in Punjab and Haryana high court. These efforts resulted in a ruling that forced the Bathinda plant to modernize three of the four units by June 30, 2011. However, Behal said the work has not been completed as of August 2011.[5][6]

Bathinda thermal plant pollution

Coal Ash Report

In 2011 the Bhaba Atomic Research Center released a study that reported a high uranium concentration in Bathinda and its peripheral area near two coal-fired power plants. The report noted that high levels of uranium was found in the groundwater supply. The study also noted stated that: "Ashes produced in thermal power plants may contain high levels of natural radioactivity and constitute a potential health hazard to the power plant personnel, and to the population living in the vicinity, due to fly-ash releases, fly-ash depositions and fly-ash industrial utilization."[7]

2011: Proposed plant shut-down

On August 22, 2011, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal announced plans to shut down the Bathinda power plant. The Tribune reports "The thermal plant set up 37 years ago is to be dismantled as it has outlived its utility." Despite some renovations, the plant will be completely dismantled. "The thermal plant has been running without electrostatic precipitators that arrest the flow of ash from the chimneys, resulting in a thick layer of ash in houses." MM Behal said the Punjab government failed to meet its commitment of taking steps towards controlling air pollution by June 2010. A local eye specialist and medical doctor have stated that ailments related to pollution, such as eye diseases and respiratory illnesses among children, have increased.[5][6]

Proposed restoration

Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President Capt Amarinder Singh has publicly stated his opposition to the Bathinda plant closure, saying the state of Punjab is already experiencing a shortage of electricity, and to close another plant will create an even larger shortage. He has said he wants the Bathinda plant to make the necessary restorations and reopen.[8]

Renovation

On its website, Punjab State Power Corporation states that "Renovation & Modernisation" (R&M) of the power station was done from 2004 to 2014 to restore the original capacity of the power station and extend its life by 15-20 years: "R&M of Units 1-2 was completed during the period March 2004 to May 2007 and these units are running at nearly full capacity. After R&M, unit 3 has been considered up-rated from 110 MW to 120 MW as of 2012. R&M of unit 4 has been completed and its capacity has been up-rated from 110 MW to 120 MW as of September 2014. Bathinda is now 460 MW as of 2014."[2]

Project Details

Sponsor: Punjab State Power Corporation
Location: Bathinda village, Bathinda district, Punjab[1]
Coordinates: 30.2335, 74.9247 (exact)[9]
Status: Retired (2018)
Capacity:

  • Unit 1: 110 MW
  • Unit 2: 110 MW
  • Unit 3: 120 MW
  • Unit 4: 120 MW

Type:
Start date: 1974-1979, renovated 2004-2014
Coal Source: Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand[6]
Estimated annual CO2:
Source of financing:

Resources and articles

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, Bathinda," Punjab State Power Corporation, accessed February 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "GNDTP Bathinda," Punjab State Power Corporation website, accessed Sep 2017
  3. "Punjab shuts down its oldest thermal power plant Guru Nanak Dev," Energy World, Sep 28, 2017
  4. "Punjab cabinet okays closure of Bathinda, Ropar power units," Times of India, Dec 20, 2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 Balwant Garg, "Bathinda residents want thermal plant closed," The Times of India, September 1, 2011.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 SP Sharma, "Ash-spewing Bathinda thermal plant to be shut down," The Tribune News Service, August 22, 2011.
  7. [1] "Natural radionuclides from coal fired thermal power plants – estimation of atmospheric release and inhalation risk"] G.G. Pandit, S.K. Sahu and V.D. Puranik Radioprotection, vol 46, 2011.
  8. Gagandeep Ahuja, "Capt Amarinder opposes closure of Bathinda thermal plant," Punjab Newsline, August 23, 2011.
  9. "Guru Nanak Dev (Bhatinda) Coal Power Station" Global Energy Observatory, accessed March 2012.
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