Grid connected solar power producers in Tamil Nadu can be confident of timely tariff payments and evacuation, assured the Electricity Minister, Natham R. Viswanathan.

The State-owned utility, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company, will soon be calling for bids from solar power generators to enter into long-term power purchase agreements with it.

The utility plans to tie-up 1,000 MW of solar power in line with the plans outlined in the Tamil Nadu Solar Energy Policy 2012 announced last month.

The utility has interacted with potential investors and their concerns will be addressed. It is committed to making timely tariff payments and provide the evacuation infrastructure. Additional evacuation capacity will be created wherever needed, the Minister said.

Addressing Energy 2012: Vision 2023, a seminar on sustainable energy management organised by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he said the policy envisages addition of 3,000 MW of solar power generation over the next three years and provide incentives to nurture the sector.

Solar energy policy

Energy Secretary Ramesh Kumar Khanna said the solar energy policy not only supports generation but will also drive demand as the Government has mandated 6 per cent solar purchase obligation from January 2014. Initially, till December 2013 it will be 3 per cent.

The obligation covers high tension power consumers including SEZs, industries guaranteed uninterrupted power, IT parks, telecom towers, colleges and residential schools and buildings of more than 20,000 sq.m.

They will have to meet 3-6 per cent of their power requirement from solar power under the purchase obligation.

Renewable energy

Stefan Weckbach, German Consul General in Chennai, said Germany is taking steps to ensure renewable energy will supply 80 per cent of its power requirement by 2050.

This part of its objective is to bring down Green House Gas emissions by 80-95 per cent by then compared with its emissions in 1990.

Its energy policy is based on energy efficiency, security of supply and environment compatibility. Increasing energy efficiency by 2 per cent annually will halve its requirement by 2050.

Conventional power plants

Germany is also setting up 18 conventional power plants including four coal-based units apart from gas-based facilities.

It sees nuclear power as a ‘bridging technology’ to tide over the interim period. By 2022 it hopes to phase out all nuclear power plants. Over half-a-dozen units have been shut down and the other 15, the first of them will close in two years, will be phased out in stages.

R. Pillai, Director-Technical, JSW Energy, said over 20,000 MW of generating capacity could be added in a few years by enhancing the efficiencies of generation in thermal power plants.

Last year they accounted for 70 per cent of the 1,000 billion units of electricity generated. The units were operating at about 60-75 per cent efficiency which could be upgraded to 90 per cent with little capital investment and administrative reforms.

Additional capacities could be created fast if environmental clearances and land acquisition issues could be addressed, he said.

balaji.ar@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 28, 2012)
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