Agartala, Oct 23 (IANS) State-owned ONGC's first 726 MW commercial power plant in Palatana in south Tripura started generating electricity Monday, a company official said here Tuesday.
"Initially producing 40 to 50 mw of electricity, the plant started generation of power successfully Monday night after a series of trial runs," a senior official told IANS.
The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Tripura government and Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Service Limited (IL&FS) have jointly floated the ONGC-Tripura Power Company Limited (OTPC) to set up the combined cycle project.
OTPC managing director Sudhindra Kumar Dube said: "The plant would help ONGC to monetise its huge gas reserves and assets in Tripura and would resolve the power crisis in Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura to a large extent."
"We are ready to supply power from the first unit (363 MW) of the project. Now it would depend on the NERLDC (North Eastern Regional Load Despatch Centre) to distribute power among the northeastern states," Dube said.
"Production of power from the second unit (363 mw) of the plant would start by this year-end or early next year," Dube added.
According to him, the generation of power from the thermal power project combined with linked transmission plan and upstream gas supply project is slated to bring in investments of around Rs.10,000 crore in the region.
"Already a 400 KV high transmission power line (680 km) has been drawn up to Silchar in southern Assam from Palatana to connect with the Bongaigaon national grid in western Assam to transmit electricity to various northeastern states," Dube added.
The power project is a hallmark of cooperation between India and Bangladesh, which ensured smooth passage of heavy project equipment and turbines to Palatana through its territory by waterways from Haldia port in West Bengal.
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said the Bangladesh government has sought electricity from the project, 60 km south of Tripura capital Agartala.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone of the project in October 2005.
A consortium comprising US-based General Electric and India's state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has been contracted to supply the all-important gas turbines for the thermal power project, Dube added.
ONGC owns significant quantities of natural gas reserves in Tripura. However, these reserves are not yet sufficiently commercially exploited due to the low industrial demand in the northeastern region.
The complexities of logistics and costs limit the economic viability of transporting gas to other deficit parts of the country.