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Tamilnadu Power Crisis Reason Essay

Abstract : In this paper, I have made an attempt to study the present power situation in Tamil Nadu, a state that has attracted plenty of FDI in power critical industries. Presently, the environment is conducive for big companies to invest in Tamil Nadu. However, there are many challenges to ensure that the requirements are met both for domestic and industrial application. The study examines the current scenario and provides detailed inputs on the various means for providing power.

Electric power –the power of the present of world:

The availability of quality and reliable power is critical for economic development of the State.Growth in power consumption is an indicator of industrial,agricultural and commercial growth of a State. Rapid and self sustaining growth of power sector and its financial viability is essential for its speedier and sustained socio-economic development of a state. Availability of sufficient power at reasonable rates will have multiplier effect on the economy of the state through increase in investments and improved productivity of agriculture, industry and commerce.

Intro of tamilnadu and its power management:

TamilNadu is the eleventh largest state in India with an area of 130,058 km2 [50,216 sq mi] and the seventh most populous state with a population of 66,396,000. It is the fourth largest contributor to India’s GDP and the most urbanised state in India. The state has the highest number (10.56%) of business enterprises in India compared to its population share of about 6%.

Tamil Nadu lately emerged as the most literate state in India as announced by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). The  top 13 cities in Tamil Nadu are Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Trichy, Salem, Erode, Tirunelveli, Tirupur, Vellore, Tuticorin, Thanjavur, Nagercoil and Dindigul. These cities are built-up with the presence of large and small industries that use electricity as a main source of energy for manufacturing their products the demand for power in these cities are growing.

With agriculture emerging as the largest consumer of power in the state, Tamil Nadu holds the distinction of being one of the first states to undertake massive rural electrification programme. Currently the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB), a state sector enterprise, is the main energy provider and distributor.

The TNEB is a statutory body corporate constituted under the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948 (Central Act 54 of 1948) and authorised to function as the State Transmission Utility and a Licensee by the notification issued by the Government of Tamil Nadu under clause (a) of Section 172 of the Electricity Act, 2003.

The Power Crisis in Tamil Nadu

The power crisis has come to stay in the state of Tamil Nadu. For many months now, power cuts for over six hours in the towns and villages of the state have been the norm. Chennai, which till recently was spared the rigours of power shedding has now been brought into the ambit. This poses a question on the state trying to attract more and more investment, giving assurances of uninterrupted power supply.

Load shedding-the strength of present TNEB

Load shedding which was originally meant for an hour or so, has now been extended to three hours in many suburbs of the city. While this has affected homes and commercial establishments, the industries in and around the city (High Tension power consumers) have been hit hard by strict regulations on hours of load shedding, with many units being forced to shut down operations for an entire day each week. Industry sources are also upset over the fact that while manufacturing units consume only 35% of the 9500 MW power consumption in Tamil Nadu, they are being forced to suffer load shedding far more than domestic consumers. Many units have begun operating shifts with the help of diesel generators, but this is proving to be an expensive solution which is affecting the bottom line.

There is also a growing feeling among indigenous industries that the state bit off far more than it could chew when it came to inviting large projects to set up base in and around Chennai. The increase in power consumption was not thought through in their opinion and there is also a feeling that multinationals are being given power at the expense of domestic companies. While there may be no basis for such a view, it does indicate that the state government has laid the ground for a potentially explosive situation on the power front. Perhaps it was against this background that the state only made a few feeble noises about bidding for the Nano project which eventually went to Gujarat.

The major reasons for the power crisis in Tamil Nadu are the following:

1. Absence of a long term vision to increase availability of power by capacity addition and encouraging private investment in power generation compared to other states, over the last 10 years.

2. Overdependence on outside sources.

3. Considerable dependence on wind energy which is highly seasonal in nature and therefore not completely reliable.

4. Failure to reduce power transmission losses in the last 10 years

Detailed explanation:

1. Lack of long term vision:

The following stats demonstrates how the gap between requirement and availability of power in Tamil Nadu has altered significantly in comparison with other industrialized states between 2003-04 and 2010-11

Comparing this with the situation in 2003-04, it can be seen that the status of deficits in most of the states was the same, except in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Tamil Nadu, in particular, only had a deficit of around 1% in 2003-04. This deficit has been increasing rapidly, especially in the last five years as can be seen from the graph below:

Anticipating a huge increase in demand, driven by economic growth, states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh put in added efforts to
increase the availability of power. This was done both by increasing own capacity and by encouraging private investment in power generation. On the contrary, such a long term vision to increase availability of power was absent in Tamil Nadu.

Further, installed capacity in Tamil Nadu increased from around 13,000 MW at the end of the 10th plan to around 14,700 MW in 2010-11, representing an increase of around 12%. This represents the least capacity addition among all the states in this period. States such as Maharashtra and Gujarat have capacity additions of 53% and 21% respectively. States such as Rajasthan and West Bengal increased capacity by as much as 43% and 47% respectively. This is explained in the table below:

The graph below will help you visualize better:

2. Overdependence on external sources:

There are five main sources of power in a state – own generation, central allocation, power purchased from IPPs, short term power from the exchange and other sources (including wind mills). The sources of power for the various states considered here are shown below:

As can be seen from the above graph, among all the states, Tamil Nadu is the most dependent on outside sources.

3. Overdependence on wind energy:

All the capacity additions in Tamil Nadu were in private wind generation (R.E.S), which, as mentioned before, is highly seasonal. This can be seen from the graph below, which shows sector wise capacity additions over the last three years:

Thus as mentioned before, the reason for the low generation by the state sector is the absence of investments by the state in stable internal sources.

4. Failure to reduce Transmission and Distribution losses:

Tamil Nadu also has relatively low T&D and AT&C losses of 18% and 19.5% respectively. Even though these values are relatively low, they have remained at these levels for the past ten years. Tamil Nadu is the only state which has not reduced its T&D losses and improved the system over the years. This is evident from the following graph which shows the movement of T&D losses in the different states since 2002-03:

The main problem faced by Tamil Nadu in transmission is with respect to congestion in the Southern grid. The following table shows the capacity of the Indian electricity grid. Further, the southern grid is currently running at full capacity. This is a major problem for a state like Tamil Nadu which is dependent on outside sources of power. As can be seen from the graph below, the amount that can be transferred to the Southern Region is not high. (I am guessing the Kudankulam plant will solve this problem)

:

To add a few points to the above:

The demand increased for relatively simple reasons – unregulated growth in industrial sector. The GoT was giving away licenses to start new industries indiscriminately with no planning in the past 10 years. This spike in power increase is concentrated in very few cities – Chennai, Coimbatore, Salem and Trichy. With this added growth, there was little to no capacity addition – they just sat back and let this situation happen – When the capacity reduced, the hope was that Koodankulam project and various other capacity additions would be added to the grid by 2008. Due to technicalities, the project is not expected to add a net positive to the grid until Q2 2013. And even with the expected capacity of 8500MW, that will not happen in another 4 years. Nuclear power is the way out.

Unless people accept the reality of the situation, the situation is likely to continue. Though nuclear power is more expensive (Guesstimate of Rs-12-17 per unit) it will pay up for itself long term. Solar and wind are good measures, but the reliability and grid capacity have to be increased. Say solar power is added to the equation, the power added to the grid is seasonal. Can the grid handle this added spike? These are parameters which have not been considered. T&D losses in the grid have remained relatively the same. Theft has increased (theft is included in T&D figures) TNEB has been forced to give power at subsidised rates incurring heavy losses to the tune of round 50000 crores. Moreover, due to these losses private players like windmill owners have not been paid for the electricity generated for the last to or three years. So they have stopped supplying to TNEB as well Future Projections:

1. Projected Demand for Power:

The graph below shows projected power demand in Tamil Nadu till 2015-16.

The following shows the break up of the demand sector wise:

2. Supply of Power:

Total capacity that will be added in the state from 2011-12 to 2015-16 is 7310 MW, out of which 1860 MW will come from the state sector, 4250 MW from the central sector and 1200 MW from the private sector. The plants coming up in the state in the next five years are shown in the graph below.

The total power made available through capacity additions in the year 2011-12 is expected to be 11,536 MU out of which 6384 MU is generated from TNEB’s own capacity additions, while 4059 MU is allocated from capacity additions of Central Generating Stations (CGSs) within the state. Further, a capacity of 1093 MU will be allocated from CGSs outside the state (namely, NTPC’s Simhadri power plant in Andhra Pradesh and Kaiga APS in Karnataka).

In 2012-13, an additional 2770 MU of power is expected to be made available due to further capacity additions by NTPC in the state. The graph also shows an increase in existing capacity from 65420 MU to 88478 MU. This increase is mainly due to higher generation through increased utilization of the plants commissioned in the previous year. In 2013-14, only one plant is likely to be commissioned. This is the 1200 MW thermal power plant, Coastal Energen, Tuticourin. .

Solutions to these power shortage :
Saving power is the first step to reduce “power crisis”:

There is no instant solution to the power crisis in Tamil Nadu,So the need of the hour is the better utilization of existing resources.Power saved is power produced. Energy conservation is the most economical solution to shortages. Energy conservation reduces energy consumption and energy demand. The term conservation is derived from two Latin words “con” means together and “servare” to guard; thus conservation means “to keep together” or “to guard together”. We can all help reduce this crisis if Wasteful use of energy is stopped; at home, at factories.Everyone of us have responsibility to save energy, by using energy saving appliances.

Lights and fans are to be switched off when not necessary.Even Kids can help save energy by doing simple things like turning of lights, fans and all electronics like computer, video games etc when they are not at desk. The Alliance to Save Energy offers some home energy efficiency tips like using Energy Saving (LED) lights that use about 99% less energy than traditional bulb etc. replace our electricity guzzling ordinary bulbs with the Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) which reduces 75% less electricity than the incandescent lamps.

We should use energy efficient motors in agriculture sectors that would avoid wastage of water and cut energy bills, in building sector new thermal doors, thermal windows, roofing insulation should be used, use energy efficient motors for all our industrial sectors. So that we can save upto 30% of energy consumption by following the above simple tips.

Not long ago, Japan faced a major power crisis. In September 2002, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) was forced to shut down 17 nuclear power plants for emergency safety inspections. How Tokyo successfully found ways to conserve electricity and avoid blackouts for months even without 17 nuclear plants is related in the book Saving Electricity in a Hurry, published by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The slogan “Save Energy” aims at maintaining an ecological balance in nature too with a vision of bright, beautiful and green earth in future.


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