The State government will take steps to augment the installed power capacity by 10,000 megawatts in five years and introduce a stable and profitable power purchase policy, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said in the Assembly on Friday.
In her reply to the motion of thanks to the Governor for his address, Ms. Jayalalithaa said that scheduled power cuts in the State would be reduced from three to two hours from July. Working on a war footing, the government, within two weeks of assuming office, had already rendered functional two natural gas turbine plants at Vazhuthur and Kuthalam that were in disrepair for over a year.
Stating that the installed capacity during her previous government increased by 2,518 MW and projects to generate 2,595 MW were taken up, she said the capacity went up only by 206 MW during the previous Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) regime, which had spread a canard that her government did not take efforts to step up power production.
Detailing the steps taken during her previous regime, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the State had entered into an MoU with the National Thermal Power Corporation in July 2002 for a 1000 MW plant. In June 2003, an MoU was signed to establish a 1,000 MW thermal plant in Tuticorin in a joint venture with Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC). As there was enough land in the North Chennai Thermal Power Plant, she said her government had sanctioned a 500 MW plant in September 2005 and a forest survey was initiated for a 500 MW hydel power plant in Kundah the same year. If the DMK government had continued the work, the present power crisis could have been averted. She charged that the DMK government's delay in selecting land resulted in the two Ultra Mega Power Projects of 4,000 MW each becoming non-starters. At the Centre's insistence, the DMK government had sanctioned one such project at Cheyyur after a delay of 18 months in 2008. As it could not guarantee a captive harbour, the project was finalised only in October 29, causing a delay of three years. The second project was yet to be sanctioned by the Centre.
The Chief Minister promised to have the necessary transmission infrastructure to realise the full potential of wind energy in the State with an installed capacity of 6,000 MW. Without proper evacuation facilities, the State was not in a position to tap wind energy to the fullest, she said.