Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thrown to the wind

No,this isn't about the untapped potential;it is about unused installed capacity in wind power generation. It is reckoned that over 1000MW windmill energy generated in Thrunelveli, Kanyakumari and Tuticorin districts in Tamilnadu go waste.Tirupur garments exporters and textile mill owners who have invested in putting up giant windmills in Udumalpet area reportedly face revenue loss.

Because the state electricity board has not put in place effective and adequate feeder/transmission system connecting wind farms with the nearest electricity
sub-station. This results in unacceptable wind power wastage, while there is all-round energy shortage.It is reckoned that adequate transmission infrastructure would go a long way in bridging power shortage.

In places with an average wind speed of 8 to 12mph,they say, small-sizes windmills that can be fitted in one's backyard is feasible; and a US company is reported to have devised a 33ft tall windmill with six-foot blades. Heavy duty Suzlon wind turbine has 144-ft long blades,from hub to tip. Suzlon's main factory is in Pondicherry, where some 1,200 employees assemble turbines and mold giant fiberglass blades.

High installation cost and long payback time may inhibit individual house-owners from going in for small-size windmill. But the backyard model can find institutional customers.They can be installed in urban open space, on the fringes of schoolyards, public parks,zoos, and other public institutions where there is space enough to fit in a minimum viable number of wind turbines. Railways could explore possibility of fitting in windmills along rail tracks.

Wonder if we have a wind-power map,identifying locations with tappable wind speed. District authorites, with support from the Met. office and the depatment renewable energy can work wonders in this area.

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