Electricity
The plants were closed after the Madras High Court prohibited the discharge of fly ash into the Vallur pond.
Wikimedia Commons/ VtTN [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) is faced with a potential electricity short-supply in the state as three thermal power plants in Thiruvallur downed its shutters. 

The closure of the power plants came after an order by the Madras High Court which banned the discharge of fly ash into the Vallur pond. Fly ash is a residuary material after burning coal and is a known contaminant of groundwater tables. The three power plants were a part of a joint venture between TANGEDCO and National Thermal Power Corporation limited. Following the order, the company has written to TANGEDCO regarding the closure of the plants with a total capacity of 1,500 MW and has not given a date by which it is expected to reopen, as per a report by B Sivakumar in Times of India. 

This was confirmed by the Chief Executive Officer of NTPC Tamil Nadu Energy Company limited (NTECL) who wrote to TANGEDCO on Tuesday about the closure. 

TANGEDCO, however, rubbished the chances of power shutdown due to this closure. It maintained that the corporation will purchase power from the open market in case the supply falls short of the demand in the state. 

TANGEDCO also maintained that fly ash will not be a problem moving forward since it has awarded contracts to sell fly ash produced by all its thermal plants. Fly ash is used by cement factories and brick kilns. 

The thermal power plant at Vallur began operations in 2012. The plant was recently in the news when the inventory of coal for power generation touched an all-time low of zero in November 2018. With one reactor of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant shut down, it is expected that there will be a crunch in Tamil Nadu’s power supply unless TANGEDCO takes proactive measures to ensure sufficient electricity in the state. 

Also read: Dirty water and toxic fish: Panel finds Ennore Creek severely polluted by fly ash