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Power shortage likely to halve in three months in Tamil Nadu

According to reports, shortage of power in Tamil Nadu, estimated to be around 3,000 MW, will halve in about three months, and entirely disappear in a years’ time, Mr Natham R Viswanathan, Minister for Electricity, Tamil Nadu, has said.

Speaking at a conference on energy, organised here by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Mr Viswanathan said that as much as 416 MW of additional capacity would become available to the State by January 10. These would come from projects in Tuticorin and Neyveli.

Also, the first unit (500 MW) of the Vallur project, put up by a joint venture of NTPC and TNEB, would generate electricity. Tamil Nadu would get 69 per cent of the output, Mr Viswanathan said.

In March, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company (TANGEDCO) expects to be able to commission the 600 MW project at Mettur. The project should have gone on-stream this month, but the delay occurred on account of want of certain approvals from the Ministry of Railways, the Minister said.

Thus, by March, the deficit would come down to 1,500 MW and the government would be able to do away with the additional one-hour load shedding, he said.

By the summer of next year, the second unit of the Vallur project and a few other projects would go on stream. “Power shortage will go by 2012.”

Speaking at the seminar, Mr Vineeth Vijayaraghavan, Editor, Panchabuta, an online renewable energy newsletter, observed that solar power offered a huge potential to make a social impact, especially if they were distributed systems (capable of delivering electricity to a village or a group of villages).

Mr Vijayaraghavan said that the renewable energy policy in India was well-evolved and, “We are way ahead in terms of policy making.” He said that the ‘renewable energy certificate’ scheme, (under which a producer of green power could get trade-able certificates based on generation and make money by selling the certificates) was a very good incentive for green power developers. However, the success of the scheme depends on how well the ‘purchase obligations’ are enforced by the various state electricity regulators, he said.

Mr Rajasukumar, Senior Vice President, Indowind Energy Ltd, said in his speech that there was a huge potential in developing offshore wind farms.

In his presentation, he said that a sea-based wind farm would cost between Rs 16 crore and Rs 24 crore a MW, which would be paid back in 6.6 years. He noted that a key challenge was securing approvals from not less than 20 ministries and departments.

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