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Home News Power Sector News Reduction of cane production will deepen the power crisis in Tamil Nadu

Reduction of cane production will deepen the power crisis in Tamil Nadu

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Redution of cane production will deepen the power crisis in Tamil NaduThe beginning of cane crushing season in the private sugar mills is expected to bring some comfort to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB)  and the present crisis in tamil Nadu. But during the past two months, cane crushing was stopped due to a lean season. According to sources, the excess power generated using bagasse (the biomass remaining after sugarcane or sorghum stalks are crushed to extract their juice) is supplied to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) at a cost of nearly Rs 2.50-Rs 3 per unit. Erode has 20 private sugar mills that have a total power generation capacity of nearly 750 MW and this would have been helped TNEB during next 2-3 months.

The mill owners had come forward to produce power by using coal despite high production costs. The government had held talks with the mill owners and had assured supply of coal. But the mills declined the offer since they preferred good quality coal and promised supply for Rs 7.40 per unit.

Since the cost was high, talks failed. Even now efforts are on to produce power in the mills by using both coal and bagasse to meet the present crisis, sources said.

Officials, on condition of anonymity, said the cane crushing capacity of Sakthi sugar mill’s (Appakudal unit) is around 7,500 tonnes per day and that of Ezhumathur is around 3,000 tonnes per day. These units have a power production capacity of 50 mw each.

“If the cane supply is reduced during the present season, which began on 10-11-2008, the units wouldn’t be able to produce the estimated power and they would have to use coal along with bagasse to utilise its full power production capacity that would ultimately increase the cost of electricity produced,” they said.

Fearing a drop in power production, the mills have asked the government to ensure cane supply to all private mills.

“Sugarcane cultivation has come down drastically. As for Sakthi Mill itself, the registered cane cultivation area is around 37,000 acres this year, as against last years 48,000 acres. Hence, the sugar commissioner has issued an order that the unregistered cane growers must seek a no objection certificate from the mill or from him to divert the cane to others potential buyers. This means, if necessary, the unregistered cane growers must also supply cane to the sugar mills at the same price as given to  registered cane growers,” they explained.

Courtsey- Indian Express

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