Punalur paper mills on the path of energy independence - The New Indian Express

Punalur paper mills on the path of energy independence

Published: 06th December 2012 11:56 AM

Last Updated: 06th December 2012 11:56 AM

Energy independence is the keyword for industries in the state which  are wary of the looming power crisis.  The newly revived Punalur Paper Mills Limited (PPML), which is planning to commence operation in a couple of months, too aspires to reduce its dependency on grid power by the time the mills operations are in full swing.

The new management of PPML, which spearheaded the revival of the company that was closed down in 1987, is planning to re-activate the century-old mini hydro-power project attached to the company.

The check dam constructed for the purpose across the Kallada river is in good condition. Commissioned in 1891 by the European entrepreneurs, who established the company,  it is arguably the first hydro-electric project in the state.

“From 1891 to 1956, the mill ran utilising energy generated from the hydro-power project attached to it. After the first hydel project in the state commissioned at Pallivasal in the 1940s, Kerala was able to provide the cheapest power available in the country. Perhaps attracted by this or following government pressure, the then management of the mill stopped power generation and started buying power from the state since 1956,” says Mohammed Illyas, director board member of PPML.

According to the management, the mills needs at least 8 MW of power when it turns fully functional. It is expected to generate upto 6 MW (average 3MW) from the project. PPML also have plans for thermal power generation. The Soda Recovery Plant installed in the 1980s and remaining unutilised since then will be modified into a multi-fuel burner. It is expected to provide steam required for all  the machines in addition to generate 5 MW of power.

“Given the power situation in the state, we cannot go ahead without these projects. Quotations for both the projects have been obtained. The thermal power project will cost about Rs 23 crore and the hydel project between `12 to `18 crore. The turbines from China will be installed at the power house, general manager (Legal) Prabhakaran S said.

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