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Delay in thermal projects brings back power cut in rural Tamil Nadu

According to reports, delay in commissioning two state-owned thermal projects has brought back power outages to rural Tamil Nadu. With wind power generation coming to a standstill in the state, districts have started experiencing power cuts for about five to six hours a day. Officials are blaming it on the delay in commissioning two thermal plants, one in North Chennai and the other in Mettur. Both have a capacity to generate 600 MW each and this would more or less compensate the wind power loss, say officials.

North Chennai Unit 1, with a capacity to produce 600MW, was scheduled to be commissioned in May 2011. The unit was finally cleared for commissioning in August this year, but minor problems are delaying the project. “There are some hitches. We hope to start the plant by this weekend,” said a TNEB official.

The Metur thermal unit is down owing to technical problems in the Chinese boiler. “There are also some issues which need to be settled by the Chinese manufacturer and another private company. We are hopeful of getting the plant ready by Wednesday,” said the official. Wind power generation is erratic. Generation picks up late in the afternoon and comes down by midnight. Hence, there are outages in the night and early morning, said the official.

The two projects, when commissioned, will increase the state’s own thermal capacity to 4,170 MW. “The NTPC-TNEB project at Vallur – two units of 500 MW each – are already running. The second plant was commissioned last month. The state gets a total of 750 MW from the two units. With these projects, we were hopeful of compensating the wind power loss,” said the official.

On Monday, power generation from all sources put together stood at 9,800 MW, while the demand was around 11,500MW.

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