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Tamil Nadu to get power from sugar mills next year

According to reports, the cogeneration power plants in 12 sugar mills across the state will produce electricity only from next December.

The proposed 183 MW electricity targeted from the cogeneration plants using bagasse might appear meagre given the mounting power shortage in the state. But the electricity could have gone a long way in easing the power shortage to some extent. The cogeneration plants would miss this cane crushing season this season and have to wait till the next crushing season in December 2013.

The state government had proposed in 2010 to construct thermal plants in the 12 sugar mills that produce electricity by burning bagasse from sugarcane waste after crushing. The project jointly carried out by sugar mill managements and the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board was expected to be completed in 18 months.

But the works are yet to be completed in all mills. The state government had on Wednesday sanctioned a short term loan of Rs 352 crore to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board to help set up the power plants in 10 cooperative and two PSU sugar mills.

The plants are being set up with financial assistance from the Power Finance Corporation, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency and the Sugar Development Fund. The TNEB will purchase power from the cogeneration plants.

As the crushing season has commenced already from December 1, the cogeneration plants may end up missing out on power generation this season. The season will last till April to May where lakhs of tonnes of sugarcane will be crushed in sugar mills and tonnes of bagasse will be produced.

N Palanisamy, president of the Tamil Nadu Sugarcane Farmers Association, blamed the nexus between politicians and contractors during the previous regime for the delay.

Official sources from Alanganallur National Cooperative Sugar mills said the works are nearing completion. Alanganallur sugar mills has targeted crushing of 3 lakh tonnes of sugarcane this year. “The works are nearing completion but it is unlikely that power generation may commence this season,” an official said.

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