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November 14, 2012

Clean Energy: The Promise & The Pain

Businessworld has a Cover Story on the topic with special focus on the travails of wind energy in Tamilnadu, hydel energy in Uttarakhand and the emerging rooftop solar opportunity.

Tamil Nadu has an installed capacity of 6,969 MW, or 40 per cent of our total wind energy capacity of 17,352 MW and 28 per cent of the total renewable energy capacity. Wind energy also accounts for 12.64 per cent of the electricity generated in the state (9,763 MU out of 77,218 MU). More than 95 per cent of the country’s wind energy potential is in the coastal states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. And while Karnataka has the largest potential, best wind sites are in Tamil Nadu. Four prominent passes in the state — Palghat, Shencottah, Aralvoimozhi and Kambam —  have average annual wind speeds ranging from 18 km/hr to 25 km/hr. In Karnataka, the average is about 10 km/hr.
Tamil Nadu, however, is power deficit — the average power availability in 2011-12 was around 8,000 MW with demand at 11,000 MW. In fact, the state recently moved the Supreme Court on grounds that the Centre was not providing enough power to it. The deficit results in power cuts for more than 10 hours in most districts and for a minimum of two hours in the cities. In June, though, wind power, which feeds 30 per cent of the state’s peak power demand, aided by strong monsoon winds, brought some relief. But not to the producers.
Spinning mills and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) have not been paid by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) for the power that they sold. TNEB, which has more than Rs 50,000 crore in accumulated losses, owes Rs 3,500 crore to more than 400 members of the Indian Wind Power Association (IWPA
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