Tamil Nadu

Govt. aims to add 22,440 MW power in the next eight years

After turning around the power crisis to that of a relatively comfortable position now, the Tamil Nadu government has ambitious plans to restore the glory of power surplus State in the foreseeable future.

According to a document released ahead of the Global Investors Meet, the government plans to add 22,440 MW of electricity in the next eight years and envisages an investment of Rs. 4.50 lakh crore by 2023. If it manages to achieve this target, it might once again make Tamil Nadu a power surplus state, a position it boasted of prior to 2006, say officials of Tangedco, the State’s power utility.

As of July 2015, Tamil Nadu had the third highest installed capacity in the country with 23,104 MW. Maharashtra leads the pack with a total installed capacity of 38,372 MW followed by Gujarat at 28,950 MW, data from the Central Electricity Authority shows.

Despite this, Tamil Nadu generates only 13,000 MW, enough to meet the existing demand. Apart from its own generating Stations and its share from Central pool, the State is managing the power scenario at present through power purchase agreements from within the State and power producers outside Tamil Nadu. An industry expert says that while the ambitious plan of setting up another 22,440 MW is very viable, the State will have to address the issue of evacuation, which it currently suffers, especially in the southern districts with wind energy producers facing the brunt. Despite being the pioneer in wind energy for the past two decades, the evacuation problem continues, he points out.

“Whether Tamil Nadu can become a power surplus State is dependent on many variables. Assuming there is surplus power, industries might be optimistic to invest here, which would then once again push up demand for electricity,” an energy expert said.

The document also envisages an addition of 10,000 MW of wind power at an investment of Rs.60,000 crore.

A critic, though, points out that State has already reached 7,000 plus MW of wind energy. “In the last four years the capacity addition was only 300-400 MW and was not substantial”, the source said.

But, others say that adding another 10,000 MW of wind will not be a problem as technology has improved and companies are able to raise higher masts. The document also has reference off-shore wind which has not taken off anywhere in the country, experts note.

In the meanwhile, the State’s solar mission has kicked off on a critical note. The State has estimated an investment of Rs.50,000 crore for solar power. The successive governments will have a role to play in pushing solar power, says Tangedco officials.

The delays in the commissioning of thermal power plants, still the best way to go for a manufacturing sector like Tamil Nadu, is another cause of concern, Tangedco officials admit. At least four thermal power plants and two hydel power projects are pending for the past four years with the Centre for environment and forest clearance, sources point out.

Legal tangles are also adding to the woes.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 2:19:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/govt-aims-to-make-state-power-surplus/article7532569.ece

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