New generating capacity will help the state withdraw power cuts
Power-starved Tamil Nadu is expected to get an additional 4,887 Mw of power from state and Central projects, as well as joint ventures before the end of 2013. The state government is confident that by June this year, power cuts — which vary from two to four hours a day in various parts of the state — will be withdrawn. The state government also envisions investments of some Rs 4.50 lakh crore as part of its Vision 2023 for the energy sector.
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has alleged the Centre, “irrespective of the number of pleas”, has made “no allocation of funds or additional electricity, even as people are groping in the dark. The Centre’s actions are aimed at ensuring that Tamil Nadu does not grow.” She said her government was betting big on renewable energy, which will bring down its dependence on the Centre for coal allocations.
The state government has set a target of adding 3,000 Mw through solar energy as part of it solar mission programme and is planning to announce a new policy for solar energy. Similarly, it is also focusing on wind energy, where it has envisaged investments to the tune of Rs 25,000 crore for generating capacity of 10,000 Mw.
Recently, the chief minister also said that since the Centre is not providing enough coal for the state’s thermal power plants, the state government will look at alternate sources like liquefied natural gas (LNG). On May 10, her government signed a MoU with GAIL. As part of the MoU a 500-Mw gas-based power plant will be set up with an investment of around Rs 2,500 crore.
According to the chief minister, LNG power plants can be built in a shorter time compared to coal. According to ratings agency Crisil, a greenfield LNG-based power plant can be set up in 28-30 months, whereas other conventional sources have gestation periods ranging from 48 to 84 months.
Meanwhile, at present, projects with a total generating capacity of 2,042 Mw are being implemented by the state sector with an investment of Rs 9,989 crore. Projects with a total generating capacity of 1,428 Mw are being implemented with joint venture partners at an investment of Rs 13,354 crore.
Besides, projects worth Rs 49,038 crore are at different stages of planning and approval. These projects will have a combined generating capacity of 8,360 Mw.
Recently, the chief minister urged the Centre to provide the entire power produced from the Kudankulam nuclear plant to the state. She also terminated the contract given to BHEL to set up a power plant at Tuticorin — stating that the company was delaying the project — and announced the government would build the Rs 8,000 crore project on its own.
Tamil Nadu Electricity Board Chairman Rajeev Ranjan added, “We are planning to invest around Rs 10,000 crore over the years to strengthen the infrastructure for transmitting and distributing the power. We are looking at raising capital from various sources.” The Japan International Cooperation Agency had approved financial assistance of Rs 3,000 crore to set up transmission and distribution infrastructure, he said.
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