CM takes stock of power scene as wind energy dips

August 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

CHENNAI: As power generation in the state dipped precariously following a sudden decrease in wind energy, chief minister J Jayalalithaa hurriedly convened a meeting of top officials to take stock of the situation. The state has been experiencing scheduled and unannounced outages and poor quality power.

With wind power generation virtually coming to a halt on Thursday morning, the chief minister directed officials to take necessary steps to speed up work on three upcoming thermal power plants in the state. Against an installed wind power generation capacity of 7,094MW, the state realised just 293MW at 6am on Thursday. Though it crawled up to 1,000MW by noon, signs of an early retreat of the wind season loom large on the power-starved state.

Tamil Nadu has been heavily dependent on wind energy in recent weeks.

With the windmills coming to a virtual standstill, overall power generation (from all sources) in the state fell to 7,000MW, resulting in unscheduled load shedding in many rural areas. Generation from windmills had been averaging between 2,400MW and 3,300MW over the past one month.

During the meeting held at the state secretariat, Jayalalithaa reviewed the ongoing work at the 3 X 500MW Vallur thermal power project, 600MW Mettur thermal power project and the 2x600MW North Chennai thermal power project, all collaborative projects of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).

With the power scenario remaining grim, especially in the rural areas where outages extended to about 10 to 12 hours, the chief minister also discussed ways and means to resolve the situation.

The Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam near Chennai, which had tripped on Sunday owing to a faulty breaker in the switch yard, started generation in one of the two units. Out of 156MW generated in the unit, Tamil Nadu gets 94MW. The second unit may be ready for operation by Friday, said sources. The state is entitled to 330MW from both the MAPS units put together.

With the Kundankulam nuclear power project caught in a legal tangle, the commissioning of the first unit could be further delayed.

Though the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board gave its go-ahead for fuel loading in the first unit, the Madras high court hearing on a batch of petitions against the project could delay this crucial step.

TNEB sources said the first unit of 500MW of the Rs 8,000 crore Vallur power scheme has been synchronized with the grid in March. The remaining work will be completed soon to get the full load operation.

On the north Chennai project , sources said that civil works for the main plant and chimney have been completed and work was in progress for coal and ash handling.

At the Mettur thermal power project, the unit has been synchronized with the grid in May and the construction of switch yard control room has been completed. For this project, 2.31 million tonnes of coal was assured annually by Coal India Limited from Mahanadhi coal fields.

Western region sweats it out

The western region of the state was badly affected by the poor generation in the windmills and long hours of outages returned to torment Coimbatore, Salem and Erode. For the last two days, normal life was disrupted due to the scheduled and unannounced power outages extending to about ten hours every day. The situation was similar across the state, with the districts experiencing several hours of unscheduled power cuts. As per data on the Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation website, load shedding in the state on Wednesday morning amounted to 3,182MW and wind energy generation was just about 900MW.

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