Friday, August 1, 2008

POWER CRISIS IN KERALA

Kerala has been pushed in to darkness. Power cut to the industry and load shedding to the public. Authorities have been forewarned months back about this eventuality. But none have bothered to listen and instead tried to fool people with tall claims. Total inaction on their part reached us where we are now.We do not have a comprehensive energy policy. All we talk about are the electricity board and their hydro-electrical projects. Kerala’s total dependence for its power need is on hydel projects and we do not think about any other sources of energy. Big hydel projects are not practical here considering the peculiar nature of Kerala. The irony is that while the authorities strongly advocate for new hydel projects they fail to get the optimum utilization of the existing hydel projects. Faulty generators, leaky penstocks silt-filled reservoirs and mis-management contribute to less than capacity generation of power.
Other sources of energy
Tapping non-conventional energy seems to be alien to the authorities. Solar and wind power are renewable sources of energy which is abundant in Kerala. The gross potential of wind energy in Kerala is around 9000MW and our production from it is zero. We should start exploiting these never ending sources. It should be made mandatory for big shopping complexes, star hotels, apartment complexes, villas etc. to generate themselves at least 25% of their consumption from solar power. Similarly industries and large scale energy consumers should be made to have own wind mills to generate part of their consumption.
Action
What we need now is a team of professionals with vision to chalk out a long term energy policy. This power cut is a big blow to the industries in Kerala which is already ailing. This will adversely affect the deteriorating economic conditions of our state. How funny that while industrial units are closed due to power cut, hotels, textile shops, jewellery shops and similar establishments stands fully illuminated for hours together in the night burning lakhs of units of precious electricity. This happens because of adoption of wrong priorities. What we have to do is to make all shops close at 7 PM. This will in no way affect their sale as people will make the purchase next day. But it will definitely save a lot of power which can be utilized for the industry.

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