Coimbatore attracts wind energy investments

HARNESSING WIND:Wind mill investments continue to grow in Coimbatore region.  

With the winds expected to start in two months in the State, wind mill installations are going on across the State.

For Coimbatore, wind energy sector has large-scale investments from here and it is also one of the main wind energy sites in Tamil Nadu.

Nearly 70 per cent of the installations are in the Palakkad Pass region, covering Thenkasi, Theni, Dinidgul, Udumalpet, Pollachi and Palladam areas, says K. Kasthurirangaian, chairman of the Indian Wind Power Association.

He told The Hindu on Monday that in 2010-2011, 997 MW was the installed capacity of wind mills added in the State. Though installations were going on now to harness the wind for energy generation this season, the total installation added this year could be slightly lower than last year. A clear picture would be available in a month.

With increasing power cuts in the Tamil Nadu, several sectors were looking at tapping wind energy. Apart from manufacturing industries, some of the other sectors investing in wind mills were educational institutions, tea plantations and hospitals here. The main advantages of wind energy were that it is green energy and the cost of energy was fixed for nearly 20 years for those who invest in wind mills. While those installing wind mills for captive use continued to tap the potential in the State, those going in for wind mills to sell power to the electricity boards were looking at opportunities in other States too.

Many industries in Coimbatore were investing in Gujarat and Rajasthan also, he said.

Though Tamil Nadu was a major centre for wind energy generation, the wind mill owners were facing challenges such as delay in payment of charges by the power utility and inadequate infrastructure for evacuation.

The wind mill owners had received the payment for power supplied to the grid only till December 2010. Apart from these, getting good wind sites was also becoming a problem, he added. In the investments going on, Coimbatore was one of the main regions where wind mills were added.