Not good season for windmill owners

M. Soundariya Preetha

COIMBATORE: This is not a very happy season for windmill owners in the district.

At least one-sixth of the energy, which could be produced by windmills in the district, is lost owing to "inadequate capacity in evacuation" (capacity to take the load), says K. Kasthurirangaian, Vice-Chairman of Indian Wind Power Association.

Total installed capacity

About 40 per cent of windmills installed in the State is in the district which benefits because of the Palghat Pass. During last fiscal, 250 MW of installed capacity was added to windmills in the district and at present the total installed capacity in the district is about 800 MW.

Feeder lines connect the windmills and the receiving sub-stations. Power produced by windmills is sent to the receiving sub-station and Coimbatore district has seven windmill sub-stations. These are connected to the distribution stations in Udumalpet and Coimbatore. "Round-the-clock grid connection is needed to use the entire wind energy generated (full evacuation)," he says.

Grid drop to blame

These five months (May-September) is the high wind season. But now the mills in the district are stopped for about three hours daily owing to grid drop in each feeder at Edayarpalayam sub-station, Udumalpet sub-station and other windmill sub-stations.

"Three hours of grid drop results in a loss of 20 lakh units a day in the district," Mr. Kasthurirangaian said.

During 2003-2004, windmills contributed 4.5 per cent of the total energy produced in the State.

Windmill owners also pay Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) Rs. 25 lakhs (for one MW capacity of windmill) towards infrastructure development charges. Adequate "clearing capacity" has not been created to keep pace with growth in windmill installations, he said.

In a recent memorandum to the Chief Engineer of Coimbatore Electricity Distribution System, TNEB, the association has pleaded for immediate commissioning of Malumichampatti sub-station and take up evacuation improvement methods on a war footing. "This will be a great relief to the grid-starved windmills."

He added that the problem was severe in the southern districts, which had about 60 per cent of the installed windmill capacity in the State, as the "load centres" were far away.

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