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Flexible Operation of Coal-Fired Power Plants in India: Workshops in Kolkata and Ahmedabad

On 4 and 6 February 2020, the Excellence Enhancement Center (EEC) successfully organized workshops in Kolkata (West Bengal) and Ahmedabad (Gujarat) with the support
of IGEF-SO. The aim of these workshops was
to raise awareness for the need for flexible operation of coal-fired power plants in India and to present promising technical and organisational measures. Indian industry experts and representatives of the international technical association of power plant operators VGB and its member companies seized the opportunity to exchange ideas about the need for flexible power plant operation and the different options available. More than 160 participants each joined both workshops, which exceeded the expectations of the organisers by far.
Profitability is a particular challenge
VGB’s member companies RWE, Steag and Siemens presented the experiences they
gained in international projects related to the flexibilisation of thermal power plants. From the Indian side, 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 first test runs in their power plants. Representatives of the private power producer Adani Power Maharashtra Ltd. also pointed out the 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 this 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% of the electricity will be generated from fluctuating energy resources such as wind and solar PV. On the one hand, flexible coal-fired power plants with minimum loads of at least 55% 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). As part of the IGEF Task Force Flexibility, VGB is working with EEC on schemes related to flexible coal-fired power plants.
This article was provided by Dr. Claudia Weise, Head Thermal Power at VGB.

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