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Power shortage again as energy from wind dips

According to reports, after enjoying continuous power supply for nearly a month, several parts of Tamil Nadu, including Chennai, experienced outages as wind energy dipped below 20MW.

The peak shortage on Monday evening and Tuesday morning ranged between 344MW and 453MW despite increased generation from state-owned power plants.

Sources in the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board said power problems faced by residents in Chennai were mostly due to local transmission glitches. “The outages in the city could be attributed to isolated problems, in substations or transformers. But, in other parts of the state, the problem was due to a growing shortage,” said an official, seeking anonymity.

With no new projects in the offing, the TNEB has to manage the growing power demand with three plants under construction by the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC). The two NLC thermal plants in Tuticorin, each with 600MW capacity, is likely to be commissioned in a month’s time and TN will get at least 600MW from the two units. Apart from this, another small thermal plant in Neyveli is also likely to be commissioned soon. “The power situation in Tamil Nadu is rather precarious. So, how can the state call itself power surplus?” said KPMG power expert Arvind Mahajan.

For Tamil Nadu to advance from the present acute situation to a state of surplus, there should be more capacity addition and transmission problems need to be sorted out, he said. “For this to happen, the government should make more private power producers set up thermal plants in the state. This way the government need not invest several crores of rupees to set up new plants,” he said.

On Tuesday, some of the power plants managed by the centre were also down due to maintenance, adding to the state’s woes. While the demand stood at 11,000MW, the TNEB continued to grapple with a shortage. If the demand crossed 12,000MW, all power plants would have to function at maximum capacity.

The state government’s project to get power from private producers from northern states is also facing hurdles despite the commissioning of the Sholapur-Raichur transmission line. “We are only hoping to get 1200MW from private producers through this line. The chief minister has written to the prime minister to open the line for Tamil Nadu. Only if this happens we will be able to get the power from north for 15 years,” said a TNEB official.

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