It is meant for evacuating 9,000 megawatt

Encouraged by greater capacity addition of wind mills in the last two years, the Tamil Nadu has come forward to establish an exclusive corridor for wind power to be transmitted to other States.

The proposed corridor is meant for evacuating 9,000 megawatt (MW). As per the proposal sent to the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), dedicated 400-KV (kilo volt) substations, 230-KV substations and associated EHT (extra high tension) lines are to be set up to evacuate wind energy. This will cost approximately Rs. 3,800 crore.

Seeks financial help

The State has sought financial assistance of the MNRE and at the recent State Power Ministers' meeting, Electricity Minister Natham R. Viswanathan called upon Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to use his good offices with the MNRE.

In the last two years, there had been a perceptible rise in the capacity addition of wind power. During 2010-2011, nearly 1,000 megawatt (MW) was added. As on date, the installed capacity was 6,008 MW. In fact, the State is well ahead of the quantum of potential (5,530 MW) assessed by the Central authorities. The authorities have received applications for putting up wind mills of 10,000 MW. An official says that if permitted by the government, developers are willing to go up to 13,000 MW.

Even though Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are said to be having higher potential of wind energy than Tamil Nadu, they lag behind the State in terms of wind mills installation. According to the MNRE's annual report for 2010-2011, the figures of installed capacity of the three States are 2,035.81 MW, 1,594.1 MW and 180.9 MW respectively.

Explaining the renewed interest in the wind energy sector of Tamil Nadu, K. Kasthurirangaian, chairman of the Indian Wind Power Association, says that the growth rate of industry in the last two years was higher compared to the previous years. [According to the State Planning Commission, the industrial sector recorded growth rates of 8.7 per cent in 2009-2010 and 6.78 per cent in 2010-2011 against 3.2 per cent in 2007-2008 and minus 0.72 per cent in 2008-2009].

The higher rate of industrial growth led to higher investment in wind mills. The wind velocity even in residual sites in Tamil Nadu is higher compared to many other States.

Also, the procedures for wind mill installation are relatively simpler in Tamil Nadu. So, “our State is still the investors' favourite,” Mr Kasthurirangaian says.

Referring to the corridor proposal, the official in the State power utility says that if it comes through, this will help others not only in getting the much-needed electricity but also in fulfilling the mandatory renewable purchase obligations.

The MNRE's response to the proposal has been receptive. Once the Ministry clears it, the proposal will be sent to the Central Electricity Authority and subsequently, to the Union Finance Ministry for final clearance, the official adds.