CHENNAI: Solar energy, especially solar thermal, is the ultimate option to meet the growing energy needs, according to Mohan Verghese Chunkath, Chairman and Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA).

Addressing the inaugural function of the Energy Summit, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here on Monday, he said cost advantage was possible only with solar thermal plants of 200-250 MW and not plants of smaller capacities (1 MW or 5 MW). In the case of solar thermal, plants with heat storage facility would be preferable.

Explaining why there were no takers for the solar thermal technology, Mr. Chunkath said besides the lack of expertise in the country, the technology was closely held even globally. By 2011, plants of an aggregate capacity of 4,000-5,000 MW would be established in the four western States of the United States — California, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.

Though cogeneration and biomass types of renewable energy were firm sources, their variable cost had spiked in recent years. But, in respect of solar, wind and geothermal energy, the variable cost was virtually nil.

Shiv Das Meena, Executive Director of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, said it planned to replace incandescent lamps throughout the State with compact fluorescent lamps. Bids had been received, and were being examined . The project, if implemented, would result in savings of 300-400 MW.

Calling for savings by domestic consumers, he said even if each household saved 10 watts, this could result in the saving of 150 MW, given that there were 1.5 crore domestic connections.

As part of the short-term measures to tide over the power crisis, the Board permitted high-tension industrial establishments to transfer their quota (fixed by the Board on the base demand and energy) from one unit to the other, if both units were owned by the same entity.

Manikam Ramaswami, chairman, CII-Tamil Nadu, said they were planning to take up an energy saving project among domestic consumers and working on a concept paper on energy conservation and efficiency.

Calling for a holistic analysis of the pattern of consumption in the State, Mr. Ramaswami said the domestic consumption was on the rise in recent years, with the per capita income increasing.


Source : The Hindu