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BW Businessworld

Power Pecking Order

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With the commissioning of the fifth unit of the Mundra power plant in March, Adani Power has overtaken Tata Power as India's largest private thermal power producer.

Tata Power, however, is still India's largest private integrated power producer with a total capacity of 5,297 MW — 4,447 MW is coal-based and 850 MW is from hydel, solar and wind energy. The company started life as Tata Electric nine decades back. In contrast, Adani Power, set up in 2008, has taken four years to reach 4,620 MW of thermal power capacity at Mundra. Parent Adani Enterprises also has a generation capacity of 40 MW of solar power at Surendranagar in Kutch, Gujarat.

However, going by current projections, Adani may replace Tata Power as the largest private power producer by 2013, when its capacity reaches 10,000 MW against Tata Power's projection of 8,297 MW. Says a Tata Power spokesperson: "We are not competing with anyone for the top position. We are an old player and we operate with a different philosophy which is not necessarily to remain on top."

Tata Power's unit size ranges from 4 MW to 800 MW, while Adani Power only has units in multiples of 330 MW upwards. "We have a large pipeline of projects. This would again be a combination of small- and big-sized plants as well as hydel and renewables with thermal plants being the predominant contributor," says the spokesperson.

For the current year, Adani Power is on schedule to commission the final two units (660 MW) of its Tiroda thermal power plant in Maharashtra. An additional 1,320 MW will come from its Kawai plant in Rajasthan. This would peg its capacity addition at 7,300 MW by December 2012. The rest 3,000 MW will be added by future projects.

Other big private power producers include Lanco Infratech (4,388 MW), Essar Power (2,200 MW) and Reliance Power (900 MW), apart from mid-sized and small power generators. Essar Power also has plans to hit 11,470 MW by 2014.

Adani's stay at the top, however, may be shortlived if Reliance Power sets up its projected capacity — it has three ultra-mega power plants at Sasan, Tilaiya and Krishnapatnam, each with a capacity of 4,000 MW. It has set a goal of 25,000 MW capacity by 2015. Currently at 900 MW, it hopes to add up to 5,000 MW by December 2012. In comparison, Adani has projected a capacity of 20,000 MW by 2020 and Tata Power 25,000 MW.  Expect the power scene to hot up this decade.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 04-06-2012)