Selecting a proper site for a thermal power plant is vital for its long term efficiency and a lot many factors come into play when deciding where to install the plant. Of course it may not be possible to get everything which is desirable at a single place but still the location should contain an optimum mix of the requirements for the settings to be feasible for long term economic justification of the plant.
The Requirements for the Site
As the name implies the power plant is meant for generating power which obviously means that it will consume huge quantities of fuel. The exact quantity would depend on the size of the plant and its capacity but it is a general fact that ample quantities of fuel must be available either in the vicinity or it should be reasonably economical to transport the fuel till the power plant. Since most thermal power plants use coal (they can use other fuels as well) it must be ensured that sufficient coal is available round the clock. Just to give you a rough idea a power plant with 1000 MW capacity approximately would require more than ten thousand tons of coal per day hence the necessity for continuous supply and storage capability of coal in the power station.
Ash if the main byproduct of combustion and since the amount of coal used is huge, you can intuitively imagine the amount of ash generated and it is certainly in the region of thousand tons per day. Ash is much more difficult to handle as compared to coal since it comes out hot from the boiler and is very corrosive in nature. Disposing of such huge quantities of ash requires a large amount of empty space where it can be safely dumped.
There must be ample space for the storage of coal, disposal of ash, building of the power plant, residential colony of workers, markets and so forth. An approximate analysis suggests that for every MW of power generated there must be at least 3 acres of land available for the purpose. Hence the power plant site needs to have good amount of land and this land should have good bearing capacity in order to survive the static and dynamic loads during the operation of the plant.
As we saw in the previous article of this series, large amount of water is required for cooling purposes in the power plant hence it is better if such a source is available nearby in the form of rivers etc.
Apart from these major requirements there are also other requirements which are equally important such as the availability of skilled people to work for the plant and good transport facilities in the vicinity.
Hence we see that setting up a thermal power plant requires a lots of factors to be considered simultaneously.