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Reducing carbon footprint...
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RIGHT FROM the beginning of the era of planning in the early 1950s, Tamil Nadu had been in the forefront of power generation, distribution and consumption. The state was the first to achieve 100 per cent coverage of electricity, including villages and hamlets, some four decades ago. A couple of weeks ago daily consumption of power crossed 300 million units. This works out to more than four units per capita per day!


From shortage to surplus...

With the change in policy post -1991 liberalisation, the substantial funding of state power projects by the Centre stopped. This resulted in much lower additions to the capacity installed by the state; but with accelerated increase in consumption, thanks to industrialisation and overall economic development, the state suffered a mismatch between power availability and consumption. This was as high as 32 per cent during summer 2011 necessitating power outages. The worst was experienced during 2011-12.

Thankfully, concerted action has helped in pushing these shortages back and the current summer of 2015 has seen the state in a comfortable position. This was the result of handsome additions to capacity like commissioning several large capacity thermal power stations at Mettur, North Chennai and Vallur as also through procurement of power through medium and long-term purchase agreements. These have helped in increasing power supply by almost 5000 MW.

Rajesh Lakhoni, Secretary, Energy Department, explained the several measures taken to ensure availability of power, to meet the increasing demand in future. He pointed to the government expediting the construction of large capacity power projects at Ennore Thermal (660 MW), Ennore SEZ thermal (1320 MW) as also at North Chennai (800 MW). The ultra-mega power project with a capacity of 4400 MW at Cheyyur, a 2 x 660 MW project at Udangudi and a 2x 800 MW thermal power plant at Uppur are also planned.

Lakhoni pointed to the long time involved in land acquisition, getting environmental clearances and tying up coal linkages.


Leader in non-conventional energy

Tamil Nadu has been a leader in non-conventional power generation and distribution. The state has an installed capacity of close to 7500 MW of wind energy. This accounts for nearly two fifths of total wind energy capacity in the country. This segment provides handsome relief during July – September. The progressive policy that helped install such large capacity is extended to solar power as well. The recent clearance of a 1000 MW solar power project for Adani Group is an instance of this policy. “We are providing the best rates; return on investment is the highest in Tamil Nadu. We also promised to buy the power generated by solar units in full.  Number of clearances required to put up a solar project is much less compared to other states,” said Lakhoni.”

Already a third of the capacity in the state is from renewable resources. 12 per cent of energy comes from renewable energy sources in Tamil Nadu. “Manufacturing in Tamil Nadu will lessen your carbon footprint, with more energy from green sources,” he said.


Strengthening the transmission infrastructure

The Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation is establishing a vast network of high capacity transmission lines at a cost of Rs 6000 crore.

In just a couple of years there has been a dramatic turnaround in the state’s power sector. Significantly a large number of industrial consumers, many of them multi-nationals, have expressed satisfaction over the power situation. This should auger well for the more investments to flow in for aftermath of GIM.


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