Earlier this month, Panchabuta had talked about how the inadequacy of evacuation infrastructure was posing a problem to the future of wind in Tamil Nadu even though the installed wind power capacity in the state had crossed the 6,000-MW mark, which is about 43 per cent of the capacity available in the entire country.
The nervousness over the bottleneck is palpable in the industry. Although many companies – Techno Electric, Caparo and Tata Power, to name a few – have evinced interest in developing wind farms in Tamil Nadu, the poor evacuation infrastructure is sure to weigh on their minds when they actually put down money, note industry experts.
According to reports, Gamesa, the Spanish wind power equipment major, which has operations in India, has made an offer to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board to put up three 400 kV sub-stations at its own cost (Rs 200 crore each) – two in Tirunelveli district and one near Coimbatore. The discussions between Gamesa and the State electricity utility are currently on how Gamesa would be recompensed for its expenditure
Speaking to Business Line today, the Chairman and Managing Director of Gamesa Wind Turbines Pvt Ltd (the Indian arm of the Spanish company) said that while the company preferred that its sub-stations be dedicated exclusively for its customers (those who put up wind farms with Gamesa’s machines), the electricity board wants the infrastructure to be shared with others too.
“At the moment it is only a proposal,” Mr Kymal stressed, adding that if allowed, Gamesa would put up the sub-stations in 18 months. The offer underscores the critical shortage of evacuation infrastructure, which has resulted in a situation where the power-starved state not being able to run the windmills optimally.
Gamesa, which is just two years old in India, is seeing its business growing rapidly. Last year, it sold 200 machines (850 kW) and expects to sell 700 this year and 1,500 in the next. The company has chalked out a plan to expand its manufacturing capacity – it intends to put up blade and tower plants in Gujarat and a turbine plant near Chennai.
Tamil Nadu, already a leader in wind power with 6,300 MW of installed capacity (over 40 per cent of the country’s) still has a huge scope to grow, Mr Kymal said.