United States-based multinational General Electric (GE) has offered to set up a 2400 mega watt (MW) gas based power plant in Punjab, delivering power to consumers at Rs 4.81 per unit.

The offer was made by the corporate giant to Chief Minister (CM) Amarinder Singh during a meeting here on Thursday evening. The CM asked the company’s chief executive officer (CEO) Deepesh Nanda to submit a comprehensive proposal within a fortnight and set up a five-member committee to examine the same.

The committee has been mandated to recommend to the government the model for setting up of the plant. It will also look into the issue of the selection of the site for the plant, for which the CM has suggested a location near Ropar, in place of the existing 35-year old thermal plant which had outlived its utility.

The company has offered to set up the plant anywhere in the state to ensure uninterrupted and cheap power to the industry, but preferably in a region with an existing pipeline network.

He also expressed the desire to associate with state government for setting up gas power plants at the load centers at Ludhiana and Amritsar, either on Independent Power Producer (IPP) or Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) model.

The CM said the proposed gas plant would give a fillip to the state government’s plan to develop Kandi region as an industrial zone, along with the foothills of Shivalik.  He also asked the committee to study the feasibility of developing gas based power plants in the load centres of Ludhiana and Amritsar to cater the perpetually growing power demand of industries in these cities.

The high-powered GE delegation, led by Nanda, earlier made a detailed presentation to the CM on its proposal. Nanda apprised Captain Amarinder of the company’s impressive presence in the Indian market, with 275 Gas Turbines in nearly 150 Gas power plants across the country.

Pointing out that gas power plants had emerged as an effective, green alternative to the conventional coal-based ones, Nanda said the former were also more economically viable as they required up to 35 acres less land. Further, gas based power plants required just 20 months for completion as compared to at least 48 months in case of thermal plants, which also makes these projects cost effective, he added.