For TN, wind power helps offset shortage of coal for power generation in May


While coal shortages forced power outages in many states, the availability of wind power helped Tangedco manage without any disruption

Typically, wind power generation begins in the state around May 15, but this year it began the first week of May.

Tamil Nadu used more wind power in May this year compared to previous years, according to data released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). Tamil Nadu used 2,108.47 million units of wind power in May 2022 compared to 1,507.05 MU in May 2021 and 1,128.60 MU in May 2020.

Typically, wind power generation starts around May 15, but this year it started the first week of May. “The wind power season started the first week of May, but it was not continuous and we had to rely on coal to meet the summer electricity demand. But after May 10, we started to have continuous wind power,” said a senior official from Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (Tangedco).

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Tangedco, like other distribution companies, faced a huge coal shortage and many states announced power outages lasting several hours. But in Tamil Nadu, due to the availability of wind power, Tangedco was able to get by without any downtime.

With wind power available, Tangedco’s thermal power plants were put on standby. “Every hour per million units, no less than 750 tons of coal have been saved, and every day the wind generation is around 70 million units. Thus, no less than 52,500 tons of coal per day have been saved,” the official said.

Import of coal

Meanwhile, Tangedco began importing coal to improve the coal stock in the event of a wind power generation outage. “We have forecasts for continued wind power generation, but … we need to take action to continue providing electricity. So with local coal, we have started importing coal and it will be mixed and used,” the official said.

To date, a total of 42,600 tons of coal have been imported. “The coal from Indonesia has arrived at the port of Ennore and the same is used in thermal units in northern Chennai. Slowly, when the need arises, we will send imported coal to Mettur and Tuticorin and in these thermal units the imported coal will be mixed with local coal,” the official said.

Respond to the request

The average electricity demand in the state is around 16,500 MW and Tangedco is able to meet all of the demand without any issues. “From thermal and nuclear power plants, we get about 128 million units and wind and solar power generations are about 108 million units. So out of the total consumption of 369 million units, 236 million units come from renewable and central units,” the official said.

Tangedco’s thermal units contribute about 70 million units per day and long-term agreements with private generators contribute about 40 million units, the official said.

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