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The wind power is highly variable in nature. The unpredictable and infirm nature of wind energy poses a great challenge for the grid management. There are also other constraints such as availability of transmission infrastructure to evacuate the entire power generated by the wind energy promoters. Tamil Nadu government’s policy notes for 2012 indicates that all these issues along with other technical issues will be addressed in the policy frame work of the Renewable Energy Policy which is under formulation.

Tamil Nadu’s leading position in wind energy could be both a blessing and a curse. It is an open secret that owing to the large output from the wind farms (over 5500 MW already installed, over 40% of total Indian wind installations), the grid cannot handle the entire wind power output. As a result, we have the sorry story of over 1000 MW of wind farms not connected to the grid.

This needs to be corrected, especially for a state that is reeling under power cuts. The state government is putting together plans to have a much more robust and comprehensive grid for the state, but all these plans require financing.

The 13th Finance Commission has recommended grants-in-aid for incentive for grid connected renewable energy for assumed achievement of 600 MW during the award period of 2010-2014. The total grant for Tamil Nadu has been mentioned as Rs.455.16 crores. Pending release of these grants, Government of Tamil Nadu has issued orders for advance release of this amount to TANGEDCO.

But these amounts will not be enough to put together a comprehensive grid network. It is imperative that the government actively seeks other sources of financing – with the wind energy sector growing at a tremendous pace and with solar and biomass sectors starting to grow as well, the last thing we need is a repeat of history where we have investors who have shouldered the burden of uncertainty and put up millions but are not able to evacuate power.