Mumbai, April 25 (IANS) For the second time in Asia, a “lake-tapping” project to generate additional electricity was carried out in the reservoir of Maharashtra’s biggest Koyna Dam here Wednesday, a top official said. The state aims to be totally free of outages by 2012.
A similar exercise – the first in Asia – was undertaken in 1999 at the Koyna dam and its success spurred Wednesday’s efforts.
The exercise will enable generation of additional 1,000 MW of electricity at Koyna Dam, which currently has an installed capacity of 1,960 MW.
Launching the exercise, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan termed it as “a blessing for Maharashtra” that would ease the power and water requirements in the state.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said that this was a major step towards making Maharashtra self-sufficent in energy.
“By December (2012), Maharashtra will be totally free of load-shedding,” Pawar assured.
Explaining “lake-tapping” Satara Superintending Engineer of Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) Gorakhnath Chavan said that it involved constructing a tunnel below the existing water level in the dam’s storage reservoir.
“Water is then guided through the tunnel and it gushes out from the other side at a great force, enabling heavy turbines to generate power,” Chavan said.
This massive force also enables larger quantities of water to be moved to greater distances for lift irrigation purposes and would greatly benefit the water-starved regions of Sangli and Solapur districts, he added.
Presently, Maharashtra has an annual requirement of around 15,000 MW of power. Till 2007, there was an average shortfall of 5,000 MW, which has now been reduced to roughly 1,500 MW.
“Today’s ‘lake-tapping’ and implementation of other planned irrigation schemes will make load-shedding history in the next eight months in the state. Besides, the state may actually have surplus power of around 1,000 MW then,” Chavan said.
Koyna Dam, Maharashtra’s largest and ranked among the mega-power projects in the country, was inaugurated 1962 by the late prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
At that time he had observed that Koyna Dam was a dream project which would help shape the country’s destiny.