KSEB to create 350-MW solar energy capacity, says Aryadan Mohammed

Minister for Electricity Aryadan Mohammed has said that the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) plans to create solar energy capacity of 350 MW during the next four year-period as part of the scheme to overcome power crisis.

The initial 50 MW is sought to be generated as early by December this year, the Minister told a press conference here on Wednesday to announce the campaign of the KSEB to conserve electricity. Of the 15 companies which had shown interest in the phase 1 bidding, six had been shortlisted and letter of intent would be issued to them soon.

“We have got a good offer; the Rs.3.20 quoted is cheap,” the Minister said.

Stating that the KSEB had got offers for 1,700 MW so far for the phase 1 bidding, the Minister said a multi-pronged strategy had been drawn up to avoid load-shedding next year and to improve power availability over the next two to three years.

Consumption touched 60 million units on Tuesday; it was 60.8 million only two days ago. This was attributed to both increased use of various gadgets to beat the heat as well as grant of new connections. Demand restrictions would have to be imposed if it exceeded 62 million, KSEB chairman M. Sivasankar said.

Key hydel projects, including Athirapally, that could generate 700 MW were awaiting the nod of the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment, the Minister said. Small hydel projects that could generate 250 MW during the 12th Five Year Plan period were also being worked out. Efforts were on to get 300 to 400 MW from Brahmapuram and 360 MW from the NTPC Kayamkulam plants when they switched on to LNG.

The Minister said the KSEB was exploring the possibility of accessing shale gas for generating power.

Monthly loss

The State was spending Rs.770 crore every month for purchase of electricity while the revenue was only Rs.700 crore, the Minister said. The loss incurred by the KSEB is Rs.200 crore every month.

Stating that 99 per cent collection had been achieved, the Minister said the government departments and public undertakings were the main defaulters. The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) alone owed Rs.484 crore to the KSEB.

The Minister said he had accompanied the Chief Minister on a visit to Delhi recently and had sought 100 MW power the Central pool. The State government was certain that it would get its share of 266 MW from the Kudankulam nuclear power project. Efforts were on to lay the Kochi-Edmanon line and to create a power highway in the State, he said.

The KSEB would soon be converted into a single company, the Minister said. Meetings were on with trade unions and a tripartite agreement had to be signed.

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