With high levels of urbanisation and industrialisation, Tamil Nadu is one of largest States in terms of power demand and generating capacity. A shining part in the State’s energy saga is the high proportion of renewables to the total generation capacity.

The State has been at the forefront of harnessing renewable energy over the past two decades and emerged as the undisputed leader in this segment.

As of March 31, 2018, the State’s total renewable energy installed capacity was 11,113 MW, the highest in the country.

Wind accounts for a major share of the State’s renewable energy mix, with an installed capacity of 8,152 MW. With more than 8 GW of capacity, Tamil Nadu, at one-fourth of the total, has the highest wind power capacity in the country. Globally, Tamil Nadu is in the 10th position in terms of wind power installed capacity.

In 2017-18, the State harnessed about 13,000 million units of wind energy and 2,905 million units of solar energy. It has reduced the use of hard coal and thus trimmed about 5,406 million tonnes of carbon emission.

To its advantage, Tamil Nadu has reasonably high solar insolation (5.6-6 kWh/sq m) with around 300 clear sunny days in a year. Southern Tamil Nadu is one of the most suitable regions in the country for the development of solar projects.

Solar success

The State had a total solar installed capacity of 2,034 MW as of March 31, 2018. A huge quantum of solar generation — 800-1,200 MW — happens during the day.

The State government has set out a plan to increase the share of clean energy through policy decisions.

To evacuate the huge quantum of renewable energy, the State power utility is establishing a vast network of high-capacity transmission lines at an estimated cost of ₹6,000 crore. The work is expected to be completed this fiscal.

Till a year ago, Tamil Nadu was the leader in rooftop solar installations. But, now, it has slipped to the second position with an installed capacity of 253 MW while Maharashtra, with 309 MW, is at the top. The industrial segment remains a major driver for rooftop solar installations in Tamil Nadu with a share of 185 MW, followed by the commercial segment at 49 MW.

While the State faced a huge power shortfall, it has reversed the trend to a great extent with the help of renewable energy.

Growing demand

With 100 per cent electrification of villages — leading to the highest per capita power consumption and stronger industrialisation — Tamil Nadu’s energy demand will continue to move northwards.

Renewables are vital not only for meeting the demand but also for environmental reasons.

The State government had set out a ‘TN Vision 2023’ plan, under which it seeks to add 10,000 MW of renewable energy capacity, including 5,000 MW solar power.