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Wind energy hope for Meghalaya

Shillong, July 31: Meghalaya is initiating steps to tap power from wind energy amid mounting demand for electricity across the state and frequent power interruptions.

Last week, the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Ltd (MeECL) had invited tenders from firms to carry out a wind energy programme in East Jaintia Hills.

The project entails supply, installation and commissioning of 1MW wind power project in Umshong village under East Jaintia Hills district with comprehensive operation and maintenance for 10 years, including free service for two years which is extendable for another 10 years.

The implementation of the project will be on “lumpsum turnkey (LSTK)” basis.

Besides, the corporation is in the process of preparing wind energy density maps in the state.

“The corporation is in the process of mapping certain areas in the state which have the potential to generate wind energy,” Meghalaya State Planning Board co-chairman John F. Kharshiing said after the board reviewed power scenario in the state today.

He said the corporation had so far identified some potential areas in West Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills for setting up windmills to augment power generation.

According to Kharshiing, the state requires more than 600MW of power.

To meet the requirement, Kharshiing said the government is looking at developing renewable energy sources.

Moreover, he said that the state government has started setting up solar panels here and in some educational institutions to tap power.

At the same time, generation of electricity through biomass would be identified so that off-grid plants could be established to reduce power deficit, Kharshiing said.

Kharshiing informed that MeECL is in the process of initiating Boundary Metering to aide in accurate calculation of transmission losses. The present loss was 4 per cent, which was comparable to the national average. Overall, in the Northeast, the transmission loss was 3.6 per cent.

Meghalaya largely depends for power on its two major hydroelectric projects — Umiam and Myntdu-Leshka whose capacity to generate electricity also depends on monsoon.

The maximum capacity of Umiam and Myntdu-Leshka is 186MW and 126MW respectively.

In the last two months, the run-of-the-river Myntdu-Leshka hydel power project was able to generate electricity to its maximum capacity following a heavy downpour.

The Myntdu-Leshka project is located on the southern slopes of the state in the Jaintia hills which experiences continuous rainfall during monsoon.

The Umiam hydroelectric project has not been able to generate power as expected, given the fact that the Umiam lake is still shallow because of dwindling rainfall.

Significantly, the corporation officials requested for an alternative route to reduce the number of vehicles plying through the main Umiam reservoir given that it is already 58 years old.

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