State mapping areas to tap wind energy

SHILLONG: Power-starved Meghalaya is preparing “wind energy density maps” to identify regions in the mountainous state where wind energy could be tapped to meet the power requirement.

“The MeECL (Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited) is mapping certain areas of the state where wind mills could be set up to harness the energy,” John Kharshiing, co-chairman of the Meghalaya State Planning Board, told journalists after a review meeting of the State plan body on Thursday.

The corporation has so far identified some wind potential areas in West Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills for setting up wind mills.

The MeECL has invited tenders to carry out a wind energy programme in East Jaintia Hills.

The project entails supply, installation and commissioning of a 1 MW wind power project in Umshong village in East Jaintia Hills district with comprehensive operation and maintenance for 10 years, including free service for two years, which is extendable for another 10 years.

“Meghalaya requires 700 MW of power. The government is looking at alternative sources of power, instead of relying on traditional forms such as hydel and thermal,” Kharshiing said.

He also informed that the state government has started setting up solar panels in state capital Shillong, and in some educational institutions, to tap power. “The Meghalaya Renewable Energy Policy is working closely with the government to identify sources of energy which could be harnessed for power generation, that includes biomass,” he said.

Earlier, addressing the meeting an MeCEL official also indicated that the corporation was in the process of taping wind, solar energy in few locations.

The meeting, presided over by Meghalaya State Planning Board chairman Salseng C Marak, reviewed implementation, achievement of Plan Schemes during 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.

During the meeting, it was stated that the support from the State Government and supply of energy from other agencies such as NEEPCO and from the Central Grid has helped the state to overcome the power crises wherein the peak demand for power at times over 600 MW, with over 3 Lakh consumers, while installed generation was 186.70 MW only

The MeECL officials further informed that presently Myntdu Leshka project was providing adequate power as there was sufficient rainfall. To a query on action against power theft, the MeECL officials stated that they have taken a number of steps to prevent power theft.

In view of the challenges faced in the implementation of the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY), the Chairman resolved that a separate meeting to review the challenges in the implementation of the RGGVY would be held shortly.

The Officials while expressing relief as to the diversion of trucks to ply through the NHAI bye-pass, however reiterated their concerns over the main dam of the Umiam Lake and requested for an alternative route so as to reduce the number of vehicles plying through the main dam given that it is presently 58 years old.

The MeECL expressed concern as to the level of water in the Umiam Lake, and stated that the lack of rainfall is a matter of concern as it was still 60 feet below expected level at this time of the year.

During the meeting, officials from the MeECL (Generation, Transmission, and Distribution) gave a detailed presentation of their implementation and achievement of Plan Schemes.

The MSPB Working Group -1 meeting resolved that an inspection of the progress of the Myntdu and Umtru power projects would be undertaken by MSPB, and another meeting would be held shortly to review the various issues with the MeECL and the Power Department to review the power policy in the State. (With inputs from agencies)

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