When power is produced by burning other fuels such as coal, petroleum, or natural gas in thermal generators or specially designed furnaces, it is called thermal electricity.
Thermal Power of which 53% is based on coal and 9.46% on gas, has growing dominant. There are over 310 thermal power plants in India. Assam, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal produce mainly thermal power.
Other significant producers are Haryana, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Orissa and Delhi. In the total production of electricity in India, the share of thermal electricity is about 70 per cent.
1. The generation of electricity from fuels like coal, petroleum or nuclear minerals is known as thermal electricity.
2. The generation of thermal electricity depends on the availability of minerals like coal, petroleum and nuclear minerals. These are exhaustible and non-renewable resources. At this rapid pace of consumption their supplies are declining and we need to develop alternate source of producing electricity.
3. Since thermal electricity is produced from exhaustible and non-renewable minerals, it is more expensive to produce.
4. The process of producing thermal electricity is not very environment friendly. Woste disposal adds to the cost of producing thermal electricity. The burning of coal leaves a large residue of ash, while the use of petroleum may cause pollution of the atmosphere and the use of nuclear mine also requires safe waste disposal to protect the environment from harmful radiation.
Factors Affecting the Location of Thermal Electricity Generating Plants:
Since thermal plants are dependent on a supply of solid or liquid fuels they are advantageously sites on coalfields, oil or natural gas fields, or at importing ports where oil is refined.
When electricity is generated, a great deal of heat is released and therefore much water is required for cooling purposes. Thus, nearness to a large river, lake, estuary or a coastal site will be advantageous. Location near the main markets for electricity (such as industrial centres, towns with a large domestic power demand) has several advantages.
Setting up of Ultra Mega Power Projects:
The Ministry of Power, Government of India in association with Central Electricity Authority and Power Finance Corporation has launched an initiative for development of Coal based Ultra Mega Power Projects in India, each with a capacity of 4000 MW or more. Initially five sites were identified by CEA in different states for the proposed Ultra Mega Power Projects.
These include two pithead sites one each in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and three coastal sites in Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra. On the request of the State Government of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, two more sites have been identified one in lb- valley and other in the coastal region of Krishnapatnam.