Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Sep 22, 2003
Industry & Economy
Renewable energy project initiatives fail to take off
Bangalore , Sept. 21
THE project off-take statistics for Karnataka's renewable energy efforts indicate dismal response to such endeavours.
Karnataka, with its close to 4,200 MW of installed generation capacity in conventional power plants, can handle 800 MW of additional generation capacity from the non-conventional source of energy. By 2010, the installed generation capacity of the conventionals is expected to rise to 8,000 MW, which means the grid network would also be expanded to carry this power and distribute it throughout the State. The grid would then be able to support 1,600 MW of installed generation capacity in renewables, but looking at other constraints such as availability of exploitable potentials, finances, land and entrepreneurial drive etc. it would be appropriate to expect an installed generation capacity in renewables approximating to 1,200 MW, sources said.
However, most of the projects based on renewables are generally small in size, seasonal and fluctuating in nature. Transporting such power over long distances through a grid proves to be very expensive.
Though a 7,000-MW capacity requirement is estimated for wind energy power projects, only 1,413.01 MW has been sanctioned to 97 projects of which only 30 with 96.705 MW have taken off. Small hydro projects potential in the State are 1,900 MW. Close to 166 projects have been sanctioned with a capacity of 791.35 MW, but only 29 of such projects have taken off with 155.77 MW capacity.
Only 11 projects with capacity of 182.8 MW have taken off in the cogeneration segment, where 44 such projects have been sanctioned with 794.1 MW. The State has a potential to generate 1,000 MW of co-generation power. The most insignificant traction is seen in the bio-mass segment where in only two projects with 5.5 MW capacity have taken off among 60 projects with 443.7 MW capacity and the State's potential bio-mass generation capacity is 500 MW.
According to the State energy sources, the expense of generating renewables also acts as stumbling blocks for private parties to take up such initiatives on a large-scale.
Hence, the conditions under which small power projects based on renewables work well are those that supply electrical power for local use.
The electricity transmission and distribution grid network already established to supply electrical power to users is the best way of stabilising the fluctuations arising in generation of power based on renewables. But there is again a limit on how much extra power can be transmitted through the grid, which has been established for evacuating power from the conventional power plants, sources added.
The per capita consumption, which was about 150 units in the 60s, now stands at about 325 units.
The demand for electrical energy is growing rapidly at 8 to 9 per cent annually.
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