Shillong: Taking cue from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, power-deficit Meghalaya is going all out to tap green energy to bridge the widening demand-supply gap in the state.
A preliminary investigation conducted by the Meghalaya Non-Conventional and Rural Energy Development Agency indicated that the state could generate about 3155 MW of electricity through non-conventional sources of energy such as bio-mass, solar and wind energy.
A GIS mapping, conducted by the Chennai-based Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET), an autonomous institution of the Government of India, said the state is capable of tapping between 40-90 MW of power from wind energy alone, MREDA director John Rodborne said.
The government agency in collaboration with CWET is presently conducting a feasibility study in the entire state to install windmills in at least seven selected sites across the state.
Three Wind Turbine Test Stations have been installed in the southern slope of Meghalaya and four more will be added by year end, he said.
These stations have been installed in Ladrymbai in Jaintia Hills district, Laitdiengsai in East Khasi Hills district and Mawiawet in West Khasi Hills district respectively.
The other four will be set up in Skhentalang in Jaintia Hills district, Laitkynsew and Mawkynrew in East Khasi Hills district and Phodjaut in West Khasi Hills district, the official said.
The preliminary information received from the installed centres indicated that wind blowing up the cliffs in the southern slopes of the state could be essentially tapped for almost throughout the year.
The reason behind the idea of having wind-power project is because it is one of the most environment friendly means to generate electricity, Rodborne said.
The time taken to set up a wind power project is also shorter as compared to the time taken to set up a conventional thermal power plant.
Officials said the preferred wind speed for optimum power generation is around 12 m/sec (40-50 km per hour) above which the turbines have to be switched off to avoid damage.
The average height of the wind turbine is 200 meters while the blades could have span of about 80 meters.
The testing stations installed at the mountain edge, Rodborne said, would actually give a rough idea on how much amount of power will be generated if a power windmill is installed.
In a year’s time, the data collected from these testing stations will be collected, condensed as statistical data before the government can come up with a formal detailed project proposal to set up windmills wherever feasible, Rodborne said.
At present Karnataka is adding 200 MW of wind energy every year to its grid whereas Tamil Nadu is doing a much better job, generating a whopping 1,000 MW annually, official sources said.
On the other hand, till date the agency has also lighted 134 remote villages where the Meghalaya Electricity Corporation Ltd found it unviable to extend their power grid.
In 2012, the agency plans to light 242 villages out of which 106 have been approved so far, the official said.
On the generation of power using bio-mass, Rodborne said the agency is processing a plan to have machines installed in all districts.
Forests wastes, and other wastes will be used for the purpose of generating about 65 MW of power, he said.
The state, famously known for being the abode of clouds, is not to be left behind as latest technology has come up to catch the slightest sunlight.
"Considering 2 per cent of land that can be used to have solar cells installed, the state can easily generate about 3000 MW of electricity," Rodborne said.
In, 2008 Meghalaya requires approximately 610 MW of power and it incurred several crores to buy power from outside to cater to its consumption.
At present, Meghalaya Electricity Corporation Ltd (MeECL) generates 228.5 MW of power and receives and about an equal amount of power from the Central shares.