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Tamil Nadu loses 800MW of wind power to poor transmission

According to reports, wind flows in the country’s windiest state, Tamil Nadu, have been at crazy highs over the last week, but thanks to insufficient transmission lines, wind power generated is being blown away. Initially when the wind flows set in this season, power generation from windmills resulted in some respite from power cuts for the state, but the joy now seems short-lived.

At a time when every unit of power generated matters to the state, Tamil Nadu lost close to 100 million units of wind power last week alone, according to K Kasturirangan, chairman of Indian Wind Power Association. Even before the peak wind season, of July, wind flow in Tamil Nadu has been at surprisingly high levels over the last few days due to cyclone Mahasen in the Bay of Bengal. Generation touched 4,000MW last week, but only about 3,200MW of this has actually been evacuated and used up by the electricity board, Kasturirangan said.

For instance, according to data from the state electricity board, about 73 million units of power was generated on May 16, after 68 million units on May 15, and 58 million units the day before that. On an average, a household uses about five units of power a day. “The previous high last year was about 4,200MW in the peak months of July-August, but this year has already seen good wind generation. However, TNEB has been able to evacuate only up to 3,000 MW from windmills,” he said. Industry sources say that windmills are being shut down for several hours a day due to shortage of evacuation infrastructure, especially in windy areas like Theni district.

“Power is generated in the south and has to be transmitted to north Tamil Nadu. The problem now is as good or bad as last year, but it would get worse as the peak season approaches,” said P P Gupta, managing director of Techno Electric & Engineering, which has more than 100MW of wind assets in the state. Lack of insufficient evacuation infrastructure has been a sore point for the state’s wind industry because of which capacity additions in Tamil Nadu fell from 1,100MW in 2011-12 to 170MW in 2012-13.

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