Kerala cannot wish away mega power projects, says minister

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on May 31, 2016

Kerala must think bold to set up and operate large-scale power projects if it desires to meet with runaway demand, according to Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Electricity.

Generation has not been able to meet demand, the minister said quoting figures. Only 34 MW has been added to the capacity during the last five years against an aggregate demand of 1,200 MW.

First priority

Given this, the first priority for the new Left Democratic Front government would be to expedite work on a series of projects of small capacities which are under various stages of implementation.

Work status with respect to these projects is being reviewed but the minister said that small and medium projects would not suffice given the pace at which demand has been growing. Large-scale projects have, therefore, become inevitable in the State. But, the government would not like to court controversy with environmentalists over the matter and would rather go by consensus.

The minister’s remark came in the context of the debate over the efficacy of a 163-MW hydro-electric project proposed across the Chalakudy river at the scenic and ecologically sensitive Athirappally falls in Thrissur.

Athirappally project

Earlier, Surendran’s statement that the government proposed to go ahead with the Athirappally project had set off a political storm with the CPI, the second biggest partner in the ruling coalition, opposing the move.

Along with Athirappally, the government also wanted to push the gas-based Cheemeni project. Both were important and they would be executed after clearing all environment-related concerns, Surendran had said.

On Tuesday, however, the minister appeared to back down and correct himself saying that all stakeholders would be consulted and a consensus worked out before going ahead with the projects.

He also said that stress would be laid on renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind, going forward. Work on a 200-MW solar project over 1,000 acres of land is progressing in Kasaragod.

The minister has held discussions with top officials to review the progress of the project. He expected that 50 MW would be generated from up-and-coming solar park this year.

Published on May 31, 2016
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