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Greater Cochin Development Authority to take the solar route

According to reports, the failure of harnessing wind energy has forced Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) to replace the windmill project with solar energy. After holding talks with representatives of United Electrical Industries on Saturday, GCDA chairman N Venugopal informed that the company has sought an option to install anti-corrosive solar panels at Marine Drive for lighting the walkway.

“The authority will not spend money for installing solar panels. The proposal was mooted by United Electrical to compensate for the failed windmill project. A decision on the new proposal will be taken if they agree to GCDA’s ‘free-of-cost’ demand,” he said.

GCDA authorities said they were aware that solar panels installed at Fort Kochi beach and Goshree Island Development Authority’s (GIDA) bridges were a failure. “The salt content of the sea breeze damages panels. United Electricals will use anti-corrosive solar panels,” he said, adding that the company will have to operate it for six months and prove its efficiency and effectiveness. GCDA authorities said they were exploring the possibility of using alternative energy to light the walkway. They took up the windmill project after people complained about the ill-lit walkway. Venugopal said United Electricals did not study the wind direction and location specifics while installing the wind turbine. He said the authority would not release the Rs 3.90 cr allocated for the project.

The failure of wind turbine project has forced GCDA to scrap the underground exhibition centre project at Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium premises. Instead, the authority is planning an exhibition centre with an underground parking facility for 1,500 cars. GCDA said a 1.5 lakh square feet permanent structure with a seating capacity of 40,000 people will be built at the place where temporary exhibition halls are currently set up. Kitco will be roped in as project consultant and they will present a new design in August. “Expert from IIT-New Delhi has suggested that for the construction of an underground exhibition centre extensive and deep piling works is required. Piles will have to be anchored on the rock to prevent the structure from collapsing. This can result in cost escalation,” said Venugopal. He added that GCDA could not afford to spend anything more than Rs 80-Rs 90 crore on an exhibition centre.

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