THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The post-flood Kerala is looking to set up a second power generation house at Idukki dam, one of the biggest arch dams in Asia that produces over 40 per cent of the total power generated in the state, with a total estimated cost of `2,700 crore. The dam has drawn flak during the August flood in Kerala with authorities allegedly releasing the flood water at the eleventh hour to keep the generation going on round the season.
According to KSEB chairman N S Pillai, the Board has held a preliminary study in connection with the setting up of a second power generation house in addition to the existing one at the Moolamattom power house. The study suggested that the proposal is feasible and the Board has decided to hold a techno economic feasibility report (TEFR) and prepare detailed project report, based on which the project would be taken up, he said.
According to a senior officer in the Board, the project aims to make use of the optimum power production during the peak hour from the dam. At present, the Moolamattom power house is generating a 1,000 million power units during peak time and 1,200 million power units during off peak time. Now the Board is planning to produce 2,000 million power units during peak time (6 pm - 11 pm) and the production during off-peak time would be scaled down to just 200 million power units. Instead, the board is planning to utilise the off-peak time to generate solar power from the dam by installing floating solar panels.
For doubling the peak time generation, the Board has to set up another power house with same capacity to generate 780 MW power. At present, six generators with an installed capacity of 130 MW have been pressed into service during the peak time. The new project also envisages setting up of six more generators with an installed capacity of 130 MW. This will ensure that state can make use of the optimum power generation from the dam during the peak time.
Though the Board has plans to equip hydroelectric project with pumped storage systems to enhance reserve generation capacity and offset the increasing incertitudes in rainfall in the wake of climate change, the preliminary study report has no mention about the proposal. The decision on awarding the project and other technical details would be decided only after the TEFR, said officers.
Though water discharge from the dam would almost double during the peak time, there would not be any change in the total discharge from the reservoir per day as the Board would be scaling down the off-peak generation in proportion to the hike in peak power production. The officers assured that this would not upset the ecological flow of the water required through the rivers down the dam.