Theni is emerging as a major source of electricity generation through wind power with the district identified as having potential to generate over 500 megawatts in the next few years.

A few private companies have already installed windmills in areas such as Kandamanur, Kamatchipuram and Andipatti in the district. The present power generation is standing at around 100 MW, sources in the Wind Energy Development cell (Non-conventional Energy Sources department) of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) told The Hindu.

Power generation through the windmills at this southern district would increase by at least another 150 MW within the next year, sources said.

With around 4,000 MW of installed capacity, wind power meets a huge portion of the State's total demand of nearly 10,000 MW during the months between May to September. With more new locations such as Theni being unearthed, there is potential for generating another 1,500 MW in Tamil Nadu through windmills, sources said.

After completing the preliminary analysis and trial runs with the assistance of Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET), windmills developers have installed several units at Theni.

Established in Chennai in 1998 by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the C-WET is an autonomous research and development institution that offers services in wind energy.

The developers have the option either fully selling to the TNEB at Rs. 3.39 per unit or to High Tension Industrial units.

Wind must blow between 7 and 25 metres/second for generating power. Each megawatt of power generated through windmills would require around Rs. 5.25 crore of investment to cover the cost of installation, sources said.

The traditional sites for wind power in Tamil Nadu are the Tirunelveli - Kanyakumari stretch and Udulumpettai and palladum areas in Coimbatore district along with Melkaraipatti and Thalaiyuthu in Dindigul district.

The Aralvaimozhi pass in Tiruneveli, Udumelphet and Palghat Passes are also major sources of wind power now. In the last one year, the Cumbum Pass in Theni has emerged as major source of wind power.

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