Staff Reporter

It is time the country relied on non-conventional sources

MADURAI: Installation of solar panels should be made mandatory for all flat promoters, hotels and power laundries to reduce burden on conventional energy sources, said N. Pattabhiraman, Chief Engineer, Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, Madurai Region, here on Saturday.

Inaugurating an one-day workshop on `Energy options for Tamil Nadu in 21st century,' organised by the Institution of Engineers, to coincide with silver jubilee-year of the local centre, he said the peak power consumption of the Tamil Nadu grid reached 8,544 MW on May 11, which once again reaffirmed that more awareness of conservation of energy and power generation through non-conventional sources was essential.

Comparing petrol prices in Venezuela, which were far cheaper than that of this country, he expressed concern over steep rise in fuel prices and said it was time the country depended on its own non-conventional sources rather than going for oil imports. Use of bio-diesel could be seen as an effective and worthy alternative to arrest increasing oil prices, he said.

High cost

The cost of power generation was higher in the country than in China, which had greatly influenced international manufacturers to establish their units in that country, he said.

With the State encouraging captive power generation in the private sector, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board now faced stiff competition, he said.

He also highlighted the need for finding ways and means to store excess power generated by non-conventional energy sources such as windmills as their contribution to the grid during times of need was very limited.

Introducing the theme, A. Durairaj, former Member (Distribution), TNEB, listed out various limitations of conventional energy sources. Many hydro-projects remained a non-starter, the commissioning of which would have reduced the burden of the grid considerably, he said and cited inter-State water disputes as the main reason for this.

He was also worried about a lack of consistency in windmill power generation and wanted the people to realise all these facts and conserve energy for a better future.

One of the main objectives of the workshop was to recognise constraints in increasing the capacities of conventional generating stations such as hydro, thermal and nuclear, to their full installed capacities and to understand the limitations in establishing generating stations with non-conventional sources of energy, said R. Chellappa, convenor of the workshop.