THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Power minister Kadakampally Surendran gave a clear hint that the LDF Government will not press ahead with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s pet project, the 163 MW Athirappilly Hydel Project. “Environmental concerns have made it virtually impossible to implement big projects,” the minister said during the discussion in the Assembly on Monday. Even without Athirappilly project, the LDF target is to augment the state’s installed capacity by at least 300 MW in three years.
This will be achieved mainly by commissioning two medium-scale hydel projects (Pallivasal Extension 60 MW, and Thottiyar 40 MW), a slew of small-scale hydel projects (together contributing 149 MW). The rest will be made up by solar and wind projects. The six ‘still in progress’ small projects, too, will be expedited to add another 65 MW. The small hydel projects, to be taken up on a 'built own operate and transfer' (BOOT) basis, will be commissioned by the end of 2017.
The minister said that the biggest crisis faced by the power sector in the state was in transmission. “There is no solid network to bring in power from outside the state and distribute it to various parts of the state,” Mr Surendran said. He said a new project, Transgrid 2.0, is under the active consideration of the government for strengthening the transmission capacity. The plan is to complete the Transgrid project by 2022-23.
The minister said it was unfortunate that the construction of the 400 kv Thirunelveli-Kochi line had been delayed for nearly 12 years. "We have not been able to secure even Kudankulam power because of this," he said. The minister, however, assured the House that the weak monsoon would not precipitate any major power crisis. “The inflow to the reservoirs was way below expectations but still KSEB Limited was able to strike medium and long term deals with power traders so that the deficit would not be felt,” the minister said.