THOOTHUKUDI: At a time when the State is reeling under severe power shortage, the country’s first demonstration wind farm set up at Mullakkadu near here is a fine example of poor maintenance.
Manufactured by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), the 55 KW wind turbine was installed at Mullakkadu in 1984 – a period when wind energy remained almost untapped in India.
In 1986, the first wind farm with 10 turbines of 55 KW each was installed at Mullakkadu to demonstrate the techno-economic viability of wind power and to attract private investments in wind mills. This was later expanded to a wind farm with a total installed capacity of 1.15 MW.
Though the Mullakkadu wind farm triggered installation of wind turbines in other parts of the State, including the one at Muppandal in Kanyakumari, it now lies in a state of neglect.
Asia’s largest wind farm, the Mullakkadu facility now wears a deserted look. Thorny bushes surround the towers and trespassing is very common. Also, the control room-cum-junior engineer’s office is in a dilapidated state.
“The farm has been unattended to since 2006. One of the turbine blades has been lying broken for long. It just shows how poor maintenance has hit the facility,” said AIADMK district councillor P Selvakumar.
“Though power generation from the plant is paltry, its contribution to the State and environment is more crucial right now. We seek Amma’s special attention to revive the farm by upgrading it to the status of a higher energy generation unit,” he added.
When contacted, an official attached to the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) official said, “We are helpless. Maintaining old wind turbines is not easy. Getting spares is very difficult as the old turbine models are out of the market. However, six of 21 turbines are still functioning. Besides, less wind velocity compared to that at Kayathar and Mupandal in the State has also pushed the farm into near oblivion.”
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