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Wednesday, Jun 22, 2005

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`Kerala can manage without thermal power if rains persist'

G.K. Nair

Kochi , June 21

IF the current trend of the southwest monsoon continued during the remaining part of the season, the State would be receiving normal rainfall and in that case the State electricity board would be able to manage power supply without drawing thermal power this year also, according to a senior official of the board.

The inflow into the reservoirs in the recent days has picked up following incessant rains during the past two days. With the inflow on Tuesday alone, 61 million units (mu) could be generated. The current storage level is enough to generate 404 mu and the inflow is expected to increase in the coming days, as there had been good rains in the catchment areas of the hydel projects, the official told Business Line.

The change in the weather has brought down the daily power demand to 30 mu from around 40 mu in the beginning of the month. At present, the hydel projects generate only 10 mu a day and the remaining requirement of around 20 mu is met from the Central grid. The State's share is 800 MW of power from the Central grid.

If the State received a normal monsoon, the water storage in the hydel projects would be adequate to generate 6,500 - 7,000 mu in a year. The current annual demand is estimated at 13,000 mu. By drawing power from the Central grid the entire demand could thus be met without going for power from the thermal stations, he said. Last year, the KSEB managed to meet the power requirement without drawing from the thermal stations of NTPC at Kayamkulam and BSES near here, he pointed out.

Similarly, this year also the board is optimistic that it could manage with hydel power within the State through effective water management and the share from the Central grid, he said.

According to him, Kerala could manage its power system without the support of the Kayamkulam thermal station. Power consumption in Kerala has not grown recently as expected earlier, mainly due to the stagnation in industrial consumption. The pattern is such that the maximum load on the system occurs during evening hours, i.e., between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., which is around 2,350 MW during acute summer. The minimum load occurs during late night hours, which is around 1, 000 MW during summer. In other words, the base load of Kerala power system is around 1,000 MW. The Central share of Kerala is between 750 MW to 800 MW now, which is available round the clock. The base load of 1,000 MW as well as day-time-additional load of around 350 MW can be met with the minimum hydro-generation that is to be put on grid and with the support of the Board's own small thermal stations whenever there is a hydel shortage, he said.

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