Though the construction of the 30 MW (2 X 15 MW) Bhavani Kattalai Barrage-III (BKB-III) across River Cauvery in Erode District was completed in March this year, power generation on the hydro power plant may begin only when water is released from the sluices of Mettur Dam for irrigation in June 2013.
Officials in the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) said that there could be no other choice as generation of power in all the three BKB barrages – BKB-I, BKB-II and BKB-III – connecting Namakkal and Erode districts was possible only when water was released from Mettur Dam for irrigation in the Delta region. This is generally from June to January every year.
“Poor flow of water in River Cauvery from Mettur Dam may leave us with no other choice than commencing power generation when water is released from Mettur Dam in June 2013. Construction of the barrage at Rs. 420 crore started in November 2006. It was completed in March 2012 and Interest During Construction (IDC) climbed to Rs. 70 crore, taking the project cost to Rs. 490 crore,” they said.
The IDC could increase by another Rs.15 crore and take the total cost of the project before commencement of power generation to Rs.505 crore,” the officials said.
The testing at BKB-III was to begin in June this year, as this was the usual time for water to be released from Mettur Dam. But, it was delayed by three months and released on September 17.
The officials said that stagnation of water in the barrage began on September 24 to enable several stages of testing on the barrage, such as checking proper functioning of the turbines, the 2 X 15 MW power plant and other technical parameters.
An expert team from Slovenia and Croatia was conducting the tests from October and the tests so far were successful.
“They will soon synchronise BKB-III with the grid,” he said.
However, the full load testing to check how the entire plant is functioning at its full capacity could not be performed with the present inflow that would last for only about 10 more days, as claimed by Public Works Department officials.
“We are getting close to 12,000 cusecs of water over the last few days, as against the requirement for 18,000 cusecs to 20,000 cusecs continuously for 15 to 20 days to perform the full load test,” they said.
TANGEDCO officials said that the total power generation capacity of the three BKB barrages was 90 MW. Each barrage had two 15 MW plants. But, the generation in the first two barrages was only 20 MW each due to inadequate water.