`Urban centres lagging in tapping renewable energy'

Staff Reporter

MADURAI: The Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency is now targeting the urban local bodies to tap the unlimited renewable energy to overcome power shortage in the State, reduce pollution and save depleting natural resources.

Addressing a regional seminar on uses of renewable energy and energy conservation for municipal chairmen, commissioners and engineers, TEDA Chairman and Managing Director, K. Allaudin, said rural local bodies have utilised solar power more effectively than urban areas.

Tamil Nadu stood first in the country in using renewable energy. The State was producing one-third of the total renewable energy in the country. Besides, 2040 megawatt of windmill power was being produced in the four districts of Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari, Coimbatore and Erode, as against the 3800 MW windmill power generated in the country.

In order to create awareness among the end-users of power, the TEDA has been conducting meetings in various districts. Over 4500 solar streetlamps have been installed in the State, mostly in 600 rural local bodies.

At a time when the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board has framed strict regulations to provide new streetlights in the extension areas, the municipalities and corporations should go in for solar streetlamps, Mr. Allaudin said. The local bodies could save huge sums of money that goes towards monthly electricity charges, even though the initial investment is high.

He also urged the representatives of urban local bodies to go in for power-generation by using solid waste generated in their areas. "With this you can save the environment, clear garbage and also generate power," Mr. Allaudin said. The local bodies could get Rs.2 crores to Rs. 4.5 crores as subsidy for such power generation plants with a capacity of one megawatt.

The Joint Commissioner of Municipal Administration, Hitesh Kumar S. Makwana, said there was lot of scope for energy conservation in urban areas — like using electronic chokes for streetlights, relocating the streetlights to make optimum usage of every single light and judicious usage of electrical appliances/lights in offices. He suggested that dimmers could be used to reduce illumination level and also electricity consumption level after 11 p.m.

Mr. Makwana said it has been made mandatory to install solar water heaters in hostels, hospitals, hotels, lodges and marriage halls and residential buildings above 5,000 square feet while seeking approval for construction in urban areas.

The Madurai Corporation Commissioner, D.J. Dinakkaren, said the Corporation has installed solar streetlamps in its Eco Park.

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