Tamil Nadu will not experience power-cuts despite depleting coal reserves in its power plants, top officials at the state energy department have told CNBC-TV18. "It is business as usual for us, we do not expect power disruptions in Chennai or in most parts of Tamil Nadu," said a source at the department.
The reason, CNBC-TV18 learns is that the state is tapping into its vast repositories of renewable energy to offset the coal crisis across the country, including four major thermal plants in Chennai.
"The peak power consumption in Tamil Nadu, in recent weeks, was about 11,000 MW, of which 5,400 MW was catered to by renewable power sources," said the official, "Of this 5,400 MW, nearly 3,200 MW was thanks to wind power and the rest was solar power."
With non-conventional or renewable energy resources catering to a large percentage of Tamil Nadu's power requirements, there is some merit in the government's claims. Of the rough total of 32,000 MW installed capacity in the state, nearly 15,871.29 MW is through renewable energy resources. Conventional power resources from coal-powered thermal stations and central generating stations accounts totals to 16,034.58 MW.
However, the state does not expect the crisis to continue for long and is banking on the restoration of regular coal supply once the worst blows over.
"We have reason to believe that with rains abating in North India, coal supply will normalise and the crisis should end," said the source, "Our coal supplies are low, but we can manage since 50 percent of our power requirements are borne by renewable energy resources."
Two days ago, Tamil Nadu's minister for power, V Senthil Balaji, said coal reserves at the state's thermal plants would only last for four days. However, the minister and the energy department have reiterated that the state will not experience power-cuts as a result of the shortage.
Tamil Nadu has not made a formal appeal to the Centre to increase coal allocation to the state.
(Edited by : Jomy Jos Pullokaran)