Windmills to power streetlights in Chennai
Imagine 15-metre towers with micro wind turbines above and four solar panels below vying with huge palm trees to create a geometrically regular pattern along the East Coast Road.
These towers, with a hybrid of wind and solar energies systems, will soon be yet another initiative in Chennai Corporation's pursuit of tapping alternative energy sources for better street lighting in the city, particularly along coastal roads that are predominantly in newly added areas.
The civic body has commissioned a study on tapping wind and solar energy with optimum hybrid models for better street lighting in added areas. Chennai, according to persons associated with the study, “is a good wind zone” but is not suitable for big wind turbines over 100 metres in height. However, the initiative using micro wind turbines is also likely to be another stepping stone towards bringing down energy consumption by 25 per cent and to save 36 lakh units in the coming year.
A group of streetlights would be connected to a tower with hybrid power generating systems. These additional street lights would fill the unusual voids between rows of 2.2-lakh streetlights in the 426 sq km of the city, mainly in the coastal zones of Tiruvottiyur, Perungudi and Sholinganallur in the added areas and Tondiarpet, Royapuram, Teynampet and Adyar of the old city limits.
Existing streetlights have been found to be inadequate in many of the expanded areas, which have a relatively low number of 88,000 streetlights. The added areas, which were earlier part of Panchayats, would be the biggest beneficiaries from the proposal for wind and solar energy-based models.
Areas such as the Marina Beach and Elliots Beach are also set to gain from the initiative. Localities in Tiruvottiyur, Sholinganallur and Marina Beach will get pilot projects that will be expanded after ascertaining their viability. In the wake of an increase in power tariff, this proposal is likely to be viable.
These new hybrid facilities would be in addition to the 25,000 solar-powered streetlights proposed in eight new zones. The Corporation has already proposed a massive programme to replace around 60,000 streetlights.
The wind and solar hybrid systems would overcome challenges pertaining to the old system of illumination adopted by many Panchayats earlier. The Corporation's norm of a minimum of a 25-metre distance between two adjacent streetlights would be adhered to during the installation of these facilities in areas such as Tiruvottiyur, Perungudi and Sholinganallur.