KARNATAKA

Long-term power generation plan a must for city a must for city

Expert suggests diesel-operated system

Staff Correspondent

MYSORE: The frequent disruption in power supply in Mysore in the past few weeks has underscored the need for a long-term plan for generating and distributing power to the city if it is to meet the growing demands of urbanisation.

While the city's town planners have been appreciated for the orderly demarcation of geographical boundaries, and conservation of open spaces, there is no debate on the long-term energy requirements of Mysore, which is increasingly being projected as an alternative to Bangalore.

Bhamy V. Shenoy, an internationally renowned energy expert, mooted the idea of installing a diesel-operated power generation system in Mysore to take care of the city's daily requirements. This will not only be an exercise in decentralising power generation, but will also eliminate the transmission and distribution losses of the present system.

Diesel-operated plant

Dr. Shenoy, who is a consultant for various international energy-related projects and is on boards appointed by the Government of Georgia and other central Asian countries, told The Hindu that as a member of the Power Committee of the Mysore Agenda Task Force (MATF) he had suggested the installation of a diesel-operated power generating system for the city, similar to the one at Yelahanka on the outskirts of Banglore.

This may cost about Rs. 300 crores, but will be able to generate around 100 mw of power and take care of the city's power requirements. "Unfortunately, those at the helm of affairs the lack vision to set up such a system," he said, "and continue with their band-aid approach."

Dr. Shenoy said: "I am not aware of any project to augment and meet the long-term power requirements of the city. The authorities at best think of installing new transformers and feeder lines or getting old ones repaired."

According to sources in Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Company (CHESCOM), Mysore requires around 32 million units a month and the projections vary by 6 per cent to 10 per cent annually. However, in view of the projections being made for Mysore's industrial expansion, there is a general perception that the demand will multiply in the next 10 years. In the absence of perspective planning on the power front, the city's growth will be impeded, they said.

Their view is also endorsed by industrial consultant, Bhanuchandran. Mr. Bhanuchandran said that the power situation this year is better compared to last year. But this is more owing to Chescom's balancing act and is not a permanent solution to an imminent shortfall that town planners foresee.

Decentralise distribution

There is a need to decentralise power generation and distribution. This calls for setting up smaller systems that will eliminate the 30 per cent transmission and distribution losses.

Once the road, air and rail links to Bangalore and other centres are upgraded, Mysore is bound to become an alternative destination for many companies looking to expand their operations, he added.

Chescom officials said a small effort to decentralise power production is being made at Kirigavalu near Bannur where a non-conventional plant that generates power for local consumption using waste is functioning on an experimental basis.

However, the results of the project are yet to be analysed and it is premature to comment on the returns of such an investment.

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