Minister radiates hopes of power-surplus situation by 2014-15

Despite its enormous potential for tapping solar energy, the State has been sanctioned fewer projects under the Jawarhalal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), Electricity Minister Natham R. Viswanathan said on Monday.

Approval for solar projects of only seven megawatt (MW) was given for the State even though the total installed capacity of the proposed projects earmarked for the previous year was 200 MW. Similarly, in the current year, the State had been allotted only 22 MW against the overall capacity of 1,000 MW.

The Minister was inaugurating a two-day international conference and expo on Renewable Energy ‘Renergy 2012,' organised by the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA).

Responding to the Minister's observation, G. B. Pradhan, Secretary, Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), later told reporters that enough allocation had been made to Tamil Nadu.

Mr. Viswanathan, in his inaugural address, also requested the Centre not to put any cap for private investors to invest in renewable projects. He expressed the hope that Tamil Nadu would become power-surplus by 2014-2015.

In his speech, Mr. Pradhan said under the JNNSM, it has been planned to create 20,000 MW power by 2022. During the first phase that would go on till 2013, plants of 1,000 MW of grid connected power would be set up. Projects of solar thermal and solar photovoltaic would have an equal share.

Pointing out that Tamil Nadu was yet to come out with a solar energy policy, Mr. Pradhan said many other States had unveiled their policy documents. Referring to the challenges faced by renewable power with regard to smooth grid connectivity, he said this was an area which needed to be addressed with all technological tools along with planning and forecasting.

Echoing the point expressed by Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) Chairman and Managing Director Rajeev Ranjan on problems in transmission and evacuation of wind mill, Mr. Pradhan referred to the nation-wide position. While Rajasthan had put up many solar power plants, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra had numerous windmills. As this scenario had led to problems in transmission and evacuation, the Power Grid Corporation of India was doing a detailed report, which would outline various solutions and indicate investments required.

The per capita power consumption in the country was only 800 kilo watt per hour, hardly 30 per cent of the global average. Yet, the country faced power shortages both peaking power and energy shortage, Mr Pradhan added.

Sudeep Jain, Chairman and Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Energy Development Authority, and Principal Secretary (Energy) Ramesh Kumar Khanna, spoke.