As summer sets in and air conditioners rev up, consumers wonder if power cuts will once again become the norm; power managers, though, are confidentthat the State has enough reserves for a smooth sailing. The forecast of a normal wind season has only amped up the comfort levels
Summer is here, and if what has gone by thus far is any indication, the season is going to be harsh. The power demand is expected to peak, possibly to its all-time high, but officials of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) say things are under control.
Though the daily average electricity demand throughout the State this April has reached 15,100 mega watt (MW), against an average of only 14,600 MW during the past two years, officials are convinced they will be able to meet demand to the extent of 15,500 MW, this summer, thanks to the supply position. A senior Tangedco official said that during the past 10 days, the demand had been consistently hovering at around 15,100 MW, with the peak touching 15,287 MW on April 6 and 15,225 MW on March 29.
The Tangedco’s confidence comes from certain facts: thermal stations (both the State and Central electricity plants) have been functioning efficiently at more than 90% plant load factor; thermal stations of long-term power producers have chipped in with more than 3,000 MW daily; and renewable energy sources have been pitching in.
The Tangedco has total power generation capacity to the tune of 17,500 MW, through thermal, hydro, gas and nuclear sources.
While normally wind power is treated as ‘infirm’ energy (available to the tune of 8,000 MW), better forecasting through the Renewable Energy Management Centre has helped Tangedco use the alternative to bridge the demand-supply gap.
The other renewable source that has helped the electricity department is solar power, the installed capacity of which now stands at 2,000 MW in the State.