The past decade saw Tamil Nadu go from being power deficit to power surplus- a change made possible by significant capacity addition. With a zeal to provide energy security for the state (which was a rallying point in the state elections this decade), the State Government pulled no stops at capacity addition using coal. As a result, the state more than doubled its installed capacity in this period, with coal-based power plants continuing to be the mainstay. This report looks at the progress of the plants envisioned in this decade, through the status of their Environmental Clearance.
The decade saw several private players enter the fray in the electricity sector of the state. In all, about 39 projects with a cumulative capacity nearing 50 GW were proposed in the decade, besides the 8 GW that was installed in the same period (but initiated earlier). Significantly, all three private players who managed to commission coal-based power plants have landed in financial turmoil, resulting in the plants being placed on the block.
Numbers say a story like nothing else. It is observed that of the 39 plants proposed, only one plant has been commissioned, that too, for less than half its approved capacity. So much for hurried and plagiarised EIAs, and rushed through public hearings.