Power firms should explore garbage, solar, as alternative sources of energy: Committee

In the report to be submitted to the state government, state energy secretary Ajoy Mehta has recommended reducing dependency on non-renewable sources of energy and exploring options like solar energy and solid waste and garbage to generate electricity

After the massive power outage on September 2, the one-man committee of state energy secretary, Ajoy Mehta is looking to explore alternate sources of power generation by power companies, making use of solar energy and solid waste and garbage.

The report will also recommend measures to prevent blackouts such as the one that took place on September 2, after a technical snag at Tata Power’s Trombay Power Station. File picThe report will also recommend measures to prevent blackouts such as the one that took place on September 2, after a technical snag at Tata Power’s Trombay Power Station. File pic

The committee is expected to submit the report today, which will also provide recommendations of short and long-term measures to prevent any recurrence of power failure in the future.

According to sources, currently only 0.25 per cent of electricity comes from these renewable sources of energy. With the city generating 6,500 metric tonnes of solid waste every day, along with skyscrapers that provide huge terrace areas, there is a lot of potential to explore the options recommended by the committee.

“The committee wants to explore solar and solid waste option for generating electricity,” said an official from the power department. While there have been proposals to generate electricity through solid waste management, the plans have been moving at a snail’s pace.

Currently, the civic body has called tenders and is waiting for power companies to express interest. Even Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) has called tenders for companies interested in generating electricity using solar energy.

Limited scope
However, sources told mid-day that the two alternative sources cannot generate electricity beyond a certain point. “We can expect a maximum of around 100-120 MW of electricity from the two renewable sources, at its peak. Mumbai’s shortfall demands electricity from other cities as well,” said a power expert.

Currently, the city’s peak load stands at 3,300 MW, against the actual power generation of 2,500 MW supplied by Tata Power, Reliance Infrastructure, BEST and the state-run Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd. With internal agreements for power purchase and distribution, these companies ensure that the city receives electricity 24/7.

According to officials, there is a need for these companies to strengthen their transmission network, so that in cases like the recent power outage, electricity can be easily brought from outside the city. “There is a strong need for upgradation and strengthening the transmission network. The recent power cut revealed that need to strengthen the Salsette-Chembur transmission line,” said Ashok Pendse, a power expert.

Along with its recommendations, the committee will highlight that the power failure, caused by a technical snag at Tata Power’s 500-Mw Trombay plant, could have been avoided if the power utility had completed the upgrade of transmission network in a time-bound manner, helping power evacuation from other parts of the state and country.

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