The tribal communities in Attappady, Palakkad, are set to partner India’s largest hydropower producing company in a unique benefit-sharing mechanism.
Part of the revenue from a wind farm to be set up by the NHPC in Agali panchayat will go to the tribal families in return for permission to set up the turbines on their land.
The weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday cleared a proposal by the NHPC to set up the 8-MW wind farm. Under an agreement between the government and the State-run company, the tribespeople will be eligible for 5% of the revenue from the project.
The NHPC will decide the tariff for the power produced from the project, in consultation with the KSEB, said an official press note on the Cabinet decisions.
In 2014, the then UDF government had inked an agreement with the NHPC to generate 82 MW of wind energy from the Attappady area under a staggered project. The proposal, however, ran into rough weather following difficulties in acquiring land to set up the turbines. The government later called off the project.
Kerala is one of the States with the lowest installed capacity for wind power. According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) the State has generated only 43.5 MW of wind power till December 2016 against a total potential of 1,700 MW. Palakkad and Idukki are estimated to be the districts with the highest wind potential.
The Kinfra Industrial Park at Kanjikode hosts the State’s largest wind energy project set up by energy giant Inox Wind. By March this year, the company had commissioned eight turbines with a capacity of 16 MW. Another 6 MW is to be added soon.
A proposal to develop offshore wind farms in collaboration with the Dutch government was dropped following protests by fishermen and constraints imposed by CRZ (coastal regulation zone) norms.
Tamil Nadu, with 7,694.33 MW, is the highest wind power producing State. By the end of 2016, the cumulative installed capacity for wind power in India was 28,700 MW, mainly located in eight wind resource-rich States.