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Chennai Port looks windward for more power

According to reports, Chennai Port Trust wants to put up windmills in the port’s breakwaters. Though in the concept stage, if the project succeeds, it could be the first in the country. A similar array of windmills on a breakwater is located in the small harbour of Bonnerup, in Belgium.

The windmills will rise above the eastern breakwater (590 metres long), northern breakwater (460 metre) and outer arm (1 km) to generate power supply through a public-private partnership.

Every month the Port Trust buys 15 lakh units from the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board for port operations. With a shortage in the TNEB grid, the Port wants to use renewable energy resources such as windmills and wave energy to supplement what the grid supplies.

“We have called for expressions of interest from private players to set up the windmills,” said an official of the Chennai Port Trust, who is closely involved in such projects.

The private player should study, design, erect and operate the windmills. The generated power may be supplied to the grid and subsequently transferred to the Chennai port through the TNEB transmission lines. The plan may include a proposal for revenue-sharing.The Port Trust will allot an adequate area on the breakwater on a 30-year lease to the operator to construct, commission and operate the windmills.

Private players welcomed the port trust’s idea. Mr Ramesh Kymal, Managing Director, Gamesa Wind Turbines Pvt. Ltd, recently told Business Line that it is a good project. With the breakwater wall going into the sea, it can generate more power. However, a ‘wind study’ needs to be done before taking up the project, he said.

According to Mr Madhusudan Khemka, CEO, Regen PowerTech, if it is shallow waters, it is feasible to put windmills. Also, the depth of the sea should be taken note of. If it is too deep, it becomes an offshore project, he said.

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