India-Wind power in Tamil Nadu

Theni is emerging as a major source of electricity generation through wind power with the district identified as having potential to generate over 500 megawatts in the next few years.

Neyveli Lignite Corporation said that it approved a proposal of setting up a 50 MW wind farm power project in Tamil Nadu. A few private companies have already installed wind turbines in areas such as Kandamanur, Kamatchipuram and Andipatti in the district. The present power generation is standing at around 100 MW, sources in the Wind Energy Development cell (Non-conventional Energy Sources department) of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) told The Hindu.

The Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) is a Tamil Nadu government promoting renewable energy sources and energy conservation activities. The agency has largely been responsible for instigating the tremendous growth of Tamil Nadu in the development of wind power. Tamil Nadu is in the forefront of all other Indian states in installed capacity.

The once-impoverished village of Muppandal benefited from the building of the nearby Muppandal wind farm, a renewable energy source, supplying the villagers with electricity for work. Wind farms were built in Nagercoil making it the largest wind farm in the world, the southern most city of India which is lying between the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Power generation through the windmills at this southern district would increase by at least another 150 MW within the next year. With around 4,000 MW of installed capacity, wind power meets a huge portion of the State’s total demand of nearly 10,000 MW during the months between May to September. With more new locations such as Theni being unearthed, there is potential for generating another 1,500 MW in Tamil Nadu through wind turbines.

After completing the preliminary analysis and trial runs with the assistance of Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET), windmills developers have installed several units at Theni. Established in Chennai in 1998 by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the C-WET is an autonomous research and development institution that offers services in wind energy.

The developers have the option either fully selling to the TNEB at Rs. 3.39 per unit or to High Tension Industrial units. Wind must blow between 7 and 25 metres/second for generating power. Each megawatt of power generated through windmills would require around Rs. 5.25 crore of investment to cover the cost of installation.

The traditional sites for wind power in Tamil Nadu are the Tirunelveli – Kanyakumari stretch and Udulumpettai and palladum areas in Coimbatore district along with Melkaraipatti and Thalaiyuthu in Dindigul district.

The Aralvaimozhi pass in Tiruneveli, Udumelphet and Palghat Passes are also major sources of wind power now. In the last one year, the Cumbum Pass in Theni has emerged as major source of wind power.