Wind power in Tamil Nadu – Japan company keen on funding wind farm

A Japanese agency has shown interest in funding the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board’s (TNEB) Rs 4,000 crore project to improve wind energy evacuation in the state. Although power managers are apprehensive that the wind turbines project may be delayed due to the current crisis in Japan, they say that it would solve many of the problems in transferring wind power smoothly into the grid.

Today, flowing wind power into the grid is a challenge. Up to 10% of the power is lost due to difficulties in bringing wind power to the grid.

As part of the project, there will be an exclusive transmission corridor for wind power alone. TNEB plans to link the wind corridor along with the main power plants in the locality. Wind energy will be transmitted to these stations and from there to the rest of the state. "The representatives of Japanese International Cooperation Agency has shown interest in funding the projects. Now the process is going through the proper channel," said an official.

According to the proposed plan, service stations will be installed in wind generating stretches including Kayathar, Theni and Aralvaymozhi. "The service stations in Kayathar and Tirunellvelli have been constructed. We will have to start work in Theni, Udumalpet and other areas," said a senior TNEB official.

So far, the government has been concentrating on wind energy generation, but not on evacuation. "The TNEB has written to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to set right this issue," said the official.

The state of Tamil Nadu has a wind energy capacity of over 5,000 MW. But the actual generation fluctuates wildly. On some days wind generation touches 2,000 MW and on some it drops to zero. "Due to this we have a permanent tie up with captive power plants for power purchase. Even if we do not buy electricity from them we have to pay," said the official.

Hence on some days when there is sufficient power purchase, TNEB does not use the wind energy, even if it is 1,000 MW. "The wind generators get unhappy when we do not buy the power from them. But they can always sell it to private players through the open access scheme," said the official.