Tapping resources to power villages, kudos to Anna University
To overcome power challenges faced by the rural population, the Anna University (AU) is leading a research project, where villages can completely switch over to renewable sources of energy without any power cuts or disruptions. Joining hands with AU are Madras University, Alagappa University and Bharathidasan University.
Shortly, there would be a technology demonstration in one of the villages in the State, said Director of the Institute of Energy Studies R Velraj, who is also the principal investigator of the project.
The project focuses on generating cool energy that will be stored. The source of power would be solar and wind energy. Besides electrifying homes and offices, the energy generated can be used to preserve dairy and food products in villages where air-conditioning facilities are inadequate.
The official said that in recent years there was a boom for renewable energy, but solar and wind energy are intermittent. There is a mismatch between demand and supply. “There is a need for energy storage and if we can promote decentralised power resources in village side, it would help both in job opportunities and industrial activities,” he said.
Velraj said in order to overcome the present energy challenges, smart technological solutions are the need of the hour. A project titled “Sustainable energy technologies- efficient renewable power generation with energy storage for sustainable smart grid” was submitted to the Ministry of Human Resources Department (MHRD) under research and innovation scheme in December last year.
The Project Approval Board (PAB) of MHRD has sanctioned a grant of `15 crore. The project is in line with Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA) and Tamil Nadu’s strategic plan for infrastructure development for greener tomorrow.
“The major objective of this project is to maximise the share of renewable energy (solar, wind, bio energy) in total power generation and reduce the barriers in the integration of new storage technologies,” he said.
Small villages can generate locally 0.5 MW to 5 MW, Velraj said. This can be further fed into the grid. Power can be generated in the open terrace.
Explaining the micro grid concept, he said, “This project is focusing on generating power in villages so that micro grid concept can be adapted. We can generate power from solar and wind and this can be transferred to all houses and offices of the villages through the local transmission line called micro grid. Thereby we can introduce energy storage concept and be independent of TANGEDCO.”
To a query, Velraj said they are yet to identify the village, where the technology will be adopted and demonstrated.
He said the first instalment of `5 crore had already been allotted out of the total `15 crore for the research project.