When someone thinks about small hydro power in India, he or she thinks mainly about North East or Himachal Pradesh, or sometimes perhaps Karnataka. Tamil Nadu does not usually come to mind for small hydro, and perhaps with justification, because the state does not figure in the country in the top 5 when it comes to potential for small hydro. However, small hydro has been contributing its bit to renewable energy in Tamil Nadu, and I provide some updates and inputs for the same
- Small hydro is the third largest renewable energy contributor to electricity production in TN (after wind and biomass).
- Estimated potential – 659.51 MW through 197 sites
- Installed capacity is 94.05 MW as of Nov 2011. In addition, 6 more projects totaling 33MW is in the process of getting commissioned.
- TANGEDCO has also proposed to establish small hydroelectric projects of capacity less than 25 MW in the run of river scheme with total capacity of 110 MW.
- A number of mini/micro hydro projects are being set up in remote and isolated areas. A number of tea garden owners are also setting up micro hydel projects to meet their captive requirement of power.
- All SHPs that are currently in operation are state owned and there is only one small hydro project of 350kW capacity that is a private sector investment.
- Organizations such as the Water Mill Associations, cooperative societies, registered NGOs etc., are being encouraged to install watermills in their areas for electricity generation to meet small scale electrical requirements of villages.