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Will NLC finally foray into renewables ?!

Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited, a “Navaratna” Public Sector Enterprise, under the administrative control of Ministry of Coal (MOC) is a pioneer among the public sector undertakings in Mine cum energy sector.

The company in May 2010, had announced that as a first step, the board had approved the spend of Rs.325 Crore for the setting up of 50MW wind farms in Tamil Nadu in the districts of Theni and Tirunelveli. The company had then mentioned that the first units would go on stream in October or November of that year.

According to reports, the company will take its plunge into renewable energy in the current year. The company expects to add 50 MW of wind power and 30 MW of solar before March 2014.

The tendering process for the 50 MW wind farm is on and the vendor could be finalised in a month, Mr R Kandasamy, Director (Planning & Projects), NLC, told Business Line today.

The wind farm is coming up in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.

Mr Kandasamy said that the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board had assured NLC that there would be no problems in evacuating the power.

Tendering is also on for a 10 MW solar plant that will come up on NLC premises in Neyveli. This will help the company meet its ‘solar purchase obligation’ mandated by the Tamil Nadu government.

Further, the NLC board approved “only today” a plan for putting up a 20 MW solar project in Rajasthan, in two equal phases.

Answering a question, Mr Kandasamy said that NLC was yet to decide how much of its renewable power capacity would be registered under the ‘renewable energy certificate’ (REC) scheme.

However this 50MW wind farm project has been planned by the company for more than three years now. After the initial announcement in May 2010, the Coal Ministry had said state-owned Neyveli Lignite Corporation’s (NLC) Rs 312 crore wind power project in Tamil Nadu would be commissioned early 2012.

The Coal Ministry that then said that the Navaratna firm would commission its 25-MW Solar Photo Voltaic Power project by the end of last year.

“To set up a 25 MW solar photo voltaic power project (to prepare feasibility report and seek approval by June, 30, 2011 to place order by December, 31, 2011 and to commission the project by December, 31, 2012,” the Coal Ministry said then.

In April last year, state-run Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) said that it plans to add an additional 75 MW through wind and solar energy which would be allocated to Tamil Nadu that is facing acute power shortage.

NLC aims to achieve this during the financial year 2012-13 the company added.

Within a month, NLC  had scaled back on its wind plans. It has scaled down the size of its wind farm to 50MW and plans to set up a 10-Mw solar farm in Tamil Nadu.

With the recent announcement today, it remains to be seen if NLC will finally foray into renewable energy.



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