Tamil Nadu to sell renewable energy to western states

The Raigarh-Pugalur 800kV ultra-high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission line will now take renewable power from Tamil Nadu instead of bringing thermal power into the state. As per the original policy, nearly 4,000MW (total capacity of line is 6,000MW) of power from pit thermal units in Raigarh was to be brought through this line to Pugalur and from there 1,000MW was to be transferred to Kerala.

But recently the Centre decided to use the line to transmit 3,000MW of wind and solar power from Tamil Nadu to the western states to help them fulfil their renewable power obligations (RPO). A Tangedco official said the decision was taken as TN was power surplus.

It is a win-win situation for both Tamil Nadu and the western states. While TN can encash its renewable power generation capacity, the western states can comply with their RPO.

Since the project was announced, there have been protests against installation of the line through agricultural fields, especially in western districts. To explain the danger posed by the project, protesters had demonstrated bulbs glowing on their own when brought close to existing transmission towers.

According to the Central Transmission Utility (CTU), Tangedco can use the high voltage line to send renewable power but will have to pay to the utility for using the line. “Tangedco has agreed to pay for using the line. The agreement also states that TN can use the line to bring thermal power during summer, when the power demand is high in the state, from the north,” said the official. “Despite protests, many farmers offered to give land for the project and we managed to complete the project,” said a senior PowerGrid official in charge of southern states.

“It is ascertained by the Central Transmission Utility that the Raigarh-Pugalur HVDC corridor would be used for export of 3,000MW renewable energy to the western region. Since this corridor is going to be used for exporting renewable power from the southern region to rest of the country, it is requested that the corridor may be declared as strategic and of national importance,” said chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in a memorandum presented to Union power minister R K Singh last week in Chennai