NEW DELHI: An ambitious project to supply power to Sri Lanka through a 200km undersea cable has run into opposition from Tamil Nadu.
The project, to be implemented by the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd, is an attempt to help enhance economic and political ties between India and Sri Lanka. It is intended to supply 1,000 megawatt (MW) power to the latter, boosting the island nation’s power situation.
Sri Lanka has a total power-generation capacity of only 2,500MW against India’s capacity of 1.3 lakhMW.
“The TN government has expressed its strong reservations against the project as it feels that export of power will deteriorate the power-supply situation in the state,” Union power ministry officials said on the condition they were not named.
TN has an installed capacity of 10,000MW, and plans toscale it up by 30% to 13,000MW during the 11th Plan (2007-12).
“As of now, it is not possible to export power outside the state as our power demands in 2007-08 are expected to be around 9,500MW, a 12% increase over the current demand levels. It will be difficult to match even our total demand in the coming fiscal as we are expecting to secure additional power supplies only to the tune of 400MW from other sources,” said a state government official.
But, according to data from consulting firm KPMG, Tamil Nadu is one of the few Indian states that is able to meet its power requirements.
Tamil Nadu sources a significant proportion of its power needs from renewable sources, such as wind, which contributes 20% of the state’s needs. The state produces around 2,000MW , which is the highest installed wind-power capacity in the country.
The India-Sri Lanka transmission link was to run from Madurai in Tamil Nadu to Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka’s North-central province.
The project, with a budget of Rs2,000 crore, will be funded by Sri Lanka, said a Power Grid official. “We have already sent the proposal to the Sri Lankan government for laying down the undersea high-voltage power cable,” he added.
The transmission link is not the only project between the two countries.
NTPC Ltd has drawn up plans to set up a 500MW coal-based thermal-power plant at Trincomalee in Lanka as a joint venture project with the Ceylon Electricity Board, involving an investment of $500 million.