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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May day - Holiday for the Power Cut as well

In the past few months, people in Tamilnadu have got used to ‘way of life’ with reduced electricity.  More often they know the time when power would go off, and magazines are abuzz with ‘power cut jokes’.  Comically calendars have besides the ‘good and bad times’ the time when power would be off.  

There is severe shortage of power and the woes of public are increasing after the  Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) force-decided to implement a host of measures such as an increase in the quantum of power cut for high tension (HT) industrial units from 20 per cent to 40 per cent and reintroduction of the scheme of power holiday besides increasing the duration of load shedding.  

In the city of Chennai, the power goes off with systematic regularity for two hours – some plan their works accordingly but for those on the move, there is no guarantee that there would be power where they visit !  -  when will this end is anybody’s guess.  Everyone speaks of Kudankulam providing the succour as also the wind energy providing some relief, if they produce more.  The development of wind power as alternative source is relatively late starter as compared to many  European countries. Still its penetration has increased significantly. 

It is a bit complex understanding the way electricity is generated and distributed.  There are huge windmills installed at places which have conducive atmosphere for generation.  The Wind Electricity Generators (WEG – Turbines – Windmills) have huge blades, mostly 3 in number – the force of the wind turns the blades, in turn the turbines, the turbines wheels turn a generator. Inside the generator,  electrical field is created, the current so made passes through multiple rectifiers that convert the DC current into AC. It is transported to grids for power distribution. 

May day (1st May 2012) provided pleasant relief for the State.  Being the first day of the week, when the power did not go off at the appointed hour, everyone thought that ‘the power cut would have been pushed to the next two hours – by turn’ – and it did not go off !!!  - a welcome relief from the sweltering heat, and remarkably  there was no power cut in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday.

The New Indian Express reports that the  bumper wind generation of upto 2,000 MW saved the day for both the consumers and the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO).  According to electricity authorities, the grid on Tuesday received about 2,000 MW power which facilitated lifting the scheduled load shedding in almost all parts of Tamil Nadu. In a bonus, the EB also got surplus power of about 1,000 MW due to non-consumption from industries, May Day being a holiday.  Hence, the entire demand of 9,000 MW was met.   According to  Indian Wind Power Association chairman, wind generation has been on the upswing. On Monday, the wind generation was 2,300 MW, preceded by 1,570 MW and 1,100 MW over the previous days.  The good news is that the  windy season is expected to continue till the first week of October. Also, the operationalisation of several new power generation projects including the first unit of the Koodankulam Plant, and the 1,500 MW Vallur Power Station are expected to significanlty cut down power cuts in the State very soon. 

So is that a temporary relief or harbinger of goods things to come, only time can tell………..

Elsewhere in UK, around 1,200 homes are still without power in Swansea, Cardiff and east Wales following stormy weather. Several roads were blocked by fallen trees as driving rain and strong winds, with speeds of up to 60mph, continue to cause problems across Wales.  It was stated that the Power staff are dealing with 10 times the normal volume of faults due to the weather with trees bringing down cables and debris on power lines.  Drivers are also being warned to take care on the M4 because of fallen trees, with one lane blocked eastbound near Bridgend.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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