"The sector is in crisis due to delay in payments," said Kasthurirangaian. "The TNEB cleared bills of wind energy producers only till July 2010. Then they stopped the disbursal,'' he said. "Whenever we ask for payment, we are told that they don't have enough funds to pay the arrears," he added.
The crisis in power sector is the creation of successive governments, which did precious little to improve the power sector in the state in the last 10 years, he said. "As a result, the TNEB now has debt of Rs 17,000 crore,'' he said.
The investment in the wind sector comes to nearly Rs 35,000 crore. "About Rs 10,000 crore of this investment is by farm owners. The rest they raised through bank loans. If the TNEB does not have the required funds to clear the arrears, the state government must pump money to clear our debt," Kasthurirangaian said.
Wind power accounts for almost 15% of the electricity generated within Tamil Nadu, which is remarkably high for an Indian state. The installed capacity of windmills in the state was 5,887 MW as on March 31, 2011. Of this, 997 MW was added during 2010-2011. Investments to generate 1,000 MW more is expected to come in this year, according to Kasthurirangaian. New farms are expected in Theni, Tenkasi and Darapuram.
The government pays Rs 2.75 per unit for energy generated from windmills installed before June, 2006. For the units installed between June 2006 and September 2009, it pays Rs 2.90 for a unit of power supplied to the grid, while the rate is Rs 3.39 per unit for the mills installed after September 2009. States like Maharashtra and Karnataka pay more to wind energy producers. Despite the low cost of wind power, state is struggling to pay the producers.
Industry representatives point out that wind power producers in other states even have the right to sell power to a third party at market rates that vary from Rs 6 to Rs 15 per unit. However, the situation in Tamil Nadu is such that the government has imposed rules that it make it impossible to sell the produced wind energy directly to a third party.
Source - Times of India