TNEB mulls options to expand wind farm capacity

R Balaji Chennai | Updated on January 13, 2011 Published on January 13, 2011

The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board is exploring ways to expand its wind farm capacity by replacing old small capacity wind mills with larger ones.

According to sources in the know, the TNEB and the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency are discussing ways to “repower” the electricity board's wind farm. TNEB now has about 17 MW of windmill capacity from more than a 100 wind energy generators. These were put up between 1986 and 1993 with each machine of about 50-200 KW, primarily as demonstration units to prove the viability of wind power generation.

But now with the improvements in wind energy generation technology there are larger and more efficient machines including units in the MW-class. The TNEB could replace the old machines and expand generation capacity up to 50 MW with available land area. TEDA, the State nodal agency for promoting renewable energy, is examining various options, say sources.

TEDA and TNEB are considering various options to bring in investments. With investment estimated at about Rs 4-6 crore a MW, TNEB will have to mobilise the funds directly or through a joint venture, possibly a public-private partnership.

Land constraints

Land availability for wind farm units is a constraint and improvements in efficiency will help support growth of wind energy generation, a fast option to growing power generation capacity in a State facing severe power shortage.

According to officials, the installed capacity of wind generation in Tamil Nadu is about 5,450 MW with another 500-600 MW expected to be added by the end of 2010-11. Earlier estimates of wind generation capacity in the State range around 5,000 MW. But with increasing efficiency of wind energy generators and larger capacity machines, the potential could be expanded significantly.

The Pune-based World Institute of Sustainable Energy has estimated that in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra there are more than 5,700 wind energy machines of less than 300 KW. Now the industry trend is to set up machines of more than 1.5 MW, and wind energy generator manufacturers are bringing in machines closer to 2 MW.

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Published on January 13, 2011
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