THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the one project that could help Kerala stave off a power crisis in 2017 mired in uncertainty, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has started looking for other options. The state-run power company has floated bids for a daily supply of 200 megawatts (MW) from traders to meet the 2017 summer demand, which is expected to be a trying time for the state’s power sector.
Since the announcement of the Assembly elections, the government has gone mum on completing the disputed Edamon-Kochi stretch of the 400 KV Tirunelveli-Madakkathara transmission line. According to KSEB officials, this line - a prerequisite for evacuating Kerala’s share of power from the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) - is imperative in the present scenario to prevent power restrictions in 2017.The KSEB is now looking for a power purchase agreement that would cover the period from March 1, 2017, to June 30, 2017.
Despite the announcement of a hefty Rs 1,020 crore compensation package for landowners last year, work is yet to start in earnest on the construction of the transmission line on the Edamon-Pallikara (Kochi) stretch. Top KSEB officials confirmed that they now expected the work - undertaken by central transmission utility Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) - to resume only after the Assembly elections, which is slated for May 16.
Reason; local protests against the project have not died down, and the government would be unwilling to jeopardise election prospects by re-starting the work. And even if work begins, it would require a minimum of one year to complete it. Which means, it would be too optimistic to expect the line to be ready by the 2017 summer.
“The importance of the Tirunelveli-Madakkathara line cannot be overestimated. All our present inter-state transmission lines are loaded to capacity, and to bring in any more additional power we would require this transmission line,” a top transmission official said. At present, Kerala has the capability to import 2,400 megawatts (MW). To import more, this line would prove imperative. This summer, daily consumption has touched 76 million units (MU), and by 2017, KSEB officials expect summertime consumption to touch 80 MU.
Some months ago, the KSEB had informed the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission that the state could face trouble during 2017 summer. “This line (Tirunelveli-Madakkathara corridor) is essential to stave off a crisis,” KSEB CMD M Sivasankar said.
The completion of the Edamon-Kochi stretch is important: for the Rs 9,400 crore Transgrid-2.0 project aimed at strengthening the transmission network within the state. Three big sub-stations - at Kundara, Kottayam and Edamon - are planned on this line alone, which makes it all the more important that it gets completed.
Lost in Transmission
- Tirunelveli-Madakkathara 400 Kv transmission corridor crucial to stave off a power crisis next year.
- Work on Edamon-Kochi stretch of the line expected to begin in earnest only after elections.
- The transmission corridor also important for the Rs 9,400 crore Transgrid-2.0 project.