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Wind blows off relief as power cuts return in Tamil Nadu

According to reports, the short spell of relief from unscheduled load shedding that the southern districts experienced for the past three days has come to an end as the power generation from wind mills, which enabled the authorities to provide relief, has begun to decline again.

Sources in Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO), Madurai Region, told The Hindu on Thursday that in the absence of rains during this monsoon season, the power authorities had limited options for providing constant relief to the consumers. Heavy rains reduce power demand as farmers reduce the use of heavy motors and domestic consumers switch off energy-intensive air-conditioners.

While wind power could be used as a supplemental source of power, it cannot be the mainstay behind the power distribution strategy as it was inherently volatile. This instability, the official said, was the reason TANGEDCO was unable to restrict load shedding to any pattern or fixed hours.

The TANGEDCO Madurai Region comprises the five southern districts of Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram.

According to data from Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation (TANTRANSCO), the sister entity of TANGEDCO, the power consumed from wind mills rose from 36.415 million units (MU) on September 29 to 63.594 MU on September 30, fell slightly to 56.74 MU and again rose to 60.713 MU on October 2.

This sudden increase in power generation from wind mills, officials said, was unexpected as the wind season begins in May and ends in early weeks of September. This unseasonal spike in power generation has already begun to decline, and as on October 3, the power consumption from wind mills declined to 55.773 MU. The power generation on the morning hours of October 4 from wind mills was only 880 MW while it had to be in the range of 2,500 MW to 3,000 MW to enable TANGEDCO to provide relief to consumers.

The power savings obtained by TANGEDCO through resorting to load shedding fell sharply from 41.422 MU on September 29 to 8.989 MU on September 30 and just 3.38 MU on October 2. However, it has begun to increase again touching 22.43 MU on October 3, indicating that TANGEDCO was stepping up the load shedding to compensate for the deceased power generation from wind mills.

Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association (MADITSSIA) president V. S Manimaran said that a meeting of 35 affiliated associations had been called on Monday to discuss the issue of power cuts.

“Tamil Nadu produces 6,500 MW now with the rest coming from wind mills and private power plants. Of this, Chennai alone consumes 2,600 MW, more than one-third. The Government must increase power cuts in the capital to provide relief to rest of the State.”

As on August 31, Tamil Nadu continues to occupy the first place in the country in harnessing wind energy with a total installed capacity of 7,111.675 MW, accounting for 40 per cent of India’s total capacity of 17,655.35 MW. During the wind season, wind power contributes around 3,500 MW, which helps TANGEDCO immensely to meet the State’s peak demand that exceeds 11,000 MW.

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