• Power utility may not face crisis despite wind energy tapering off

    Tamil Nadu’s claims of being a power surplus state is all set for a reality check with the wind season coming to an end.

    After more than five months of a dream run during which time Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company (Tangedco) evacuated more than 4,000 MW wind energy on many days, the power utility’s thermal capacity is now being put to test. Many thermal plants were shut for maintenance or run on low capacity to facilitate maximum evacuation of wind energy in recent months.

    The government even amended section 11 of the Electricity Act to allow sale of power to other states. But now, all the conventional sources will have to be tapped to meet the demand, which is not expected to reduce at least till in the monsoon sets in. Demand from farmers will go up as they are dependent on groundwater for samba cultivation.

    “We have so far evacuated more than 10 million units of wind power since the start of wind season in May. Compared to the previous years, the wind energy evacuation has set a record. Now, the wind power generation is slowly tapering off and the generation has come down from 4000MW to around 600MW,” a senior Tangedco official told TOI.

    But there is no crisis like previous years. “It is not summer and the demand is below 15,000MW. We have enough thermal capacity on standby mode and we have started using them in place of wind. We also have continuous supply of nuclear power from Unit 1 of Kudankulam,” he said.

    Power is also available in the power exchange. “As of now we are purchasing 100MW from the power exchange at Rs 2.47 per unit. If the demand increases, we will increase the purchase from the exchange as the cost is less,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Unit 1 is to be shut down for refueling and Unit 2 of Kudankulam plant is likely to be reconnected to the grid, thereby compensating the loss. “We will be shutting down Unit 1 in December for refuelling and it will take one month before it is restarted,” Kudankulam site director R S Sundar told TOI.

    Tangedco also has 900MW of private power generation capacity, which has been stopped since the start of the wind season. “Only after exhausting all other sources, will Tangedco be opting to use power from private companies. The cost of power from these companies is Rs 5.10 per unit,” the official said. My Account Jersey

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