More wind power in TN may help Tangedco cut cost this year

Power utility may buy 15K million units compared to 13.5K MUs in ’23
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

CHENNAI: With the wind season commencing a week ago in the state, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) is eyeing to purchase 15,000 million units (MU) of wind power this year against 13,500 MUs it procured last year.

The power utility is expecting that this will reduce its expenses associated with procuring coal-based power from private players. The current cost of wind power stands below Rs 4 per unit, whereas coal-based thermal power costs Rs 10 in the open market. Tangedco bought power during peak hours during this summer for as high as Rs 18.50 per unit.

On non-summer days, the state consumes around 350 to 370 MUs of power daily. The peak wind season spans from June to September, during which the power utility typically acquires 90 to 100 MUs a day. A senior official told TNIE that the windy season officially began on April 30. “In the initial four days, we received 15 to 21 MUs every day. On Monday, we received 33 MUs. By the end of May, we anticipate a surge in power generation as the season peaks, continuing till September.”

The official further said implementing a repowering policy for wind plants in the state, whereby they can increase the height of the turbines’ hub, can increase total power generation by up to 30 %. “Tangedco and the National Institute of Wind Energy have already engaged in discussions with wind power producers to implement this policy. A decision in this regard is expected within a year.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a wind power producer based in Tirunelveli said, “Most of the wind generators have entered into agreements with Tangedco, restricting us from selling power to others, especially captive users. Allowing us to do so would enable small wind power generators to expand their business and meet monthly EMIs on time.”

The wind producer also urged Tangedco to ensure timely clearance of bills.

Proposing measures to enhance wind power generation, S Jayakumaran, CEO of Vayaulo Energy in Tirunelveli, said, “Establishing separate corridors for wind and solar power is crucial, along with increasing substations that are connected with 400 kV lines (through which more power generated by windmills can be evacuated). With adequate infrastructure, many entrepreneurs will be motivated to set up wind plants in the state.”

To incentivise entrepreneurs, the union government offers loans through the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency and conducts training programmes for them. The state government can adopt similar strategies to foster sectoral development, he added.

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The New Indian Express