Demand for electricity growing by 10 % in State annually
Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed has said that 14 selected municipalities in the State will soon switch over from conventional electricity to solar energy to light their street lamps.
Inaugurating a seminar organised by the Kerala Energy Conservation Forum (KECF) in association with the Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT) here on Tuesday, the Minister said the pilot project would be completed within three months.
He said the need to popularise use of non-conventional energy had become urgent. The demand for electricity was increasing by around 10 per cent in the State annually. Against the present demand of more than 3,200 MW, Kerala would require around 6,000 MW of electricity by the 2020-21.
He said the State now had the installed capacity to generate only around 1,500 MW of power. The State had an allocation of 1,134 MW from Central power stations, which, however, translated into the actual receipt of only around 950 MW of electricity under most favourable conditions. The remaining quantum of energy was not being bought at exorbitant costs from open market sources.
It had become difficult for the State to win environmental clearance for any large hydroelectric projects, Mr. Mohammed said, citing the example of the proposal for the Athirappilly project, which was rejected by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Thermal power stations too could not be set up here due to local protests.
He said the State was working on a plan to set up a thermal power station jointly with Orissa at Baitarani West in Orissa, where the Union Coal Ministry had allocated a coal block having an estimated deposit of 5 million tonnes of coal.
“Already we are in a crisis. We have to exploit the non-conventional energy sources to the maximum and at the same time take proactive steps to conserve energy.
The government is targeting the setting up of a string of small hydroelectric stations to generate at least 300 MW of power in the next five years. Efforts are also on to set up windmills to generate another 300 MW of power during this period,” the Minister said.
P.B. Sugathakumar, director, ANERT, presided over the inaugural session of the seminar. K.M. Dhanesan Unnithan, director, Energy Management Centre; Paravoor Sajeeb, chairman, KECF; and Shahida Kamal, patron, KECF; were among those who spoke at the function.