Bhubaneswar : Now Solar Energy has become the flavour of the day. Aditya Aluminium, a unit of the Metals business of the Aditya Birla Group has set up a 24 MW solar power plant at Lapanga in Sambalpur district.
This perfectly fits into the grand scheme of things for the Odisha government. By 2022,Odishadreams of installing renewable energy capacity of 2,750 mw, out of which 2,200 mw shall be from solar energy.
Inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through video conferencing very recently, this plant spans across 144 acres of ash-filled land with an investment of Rs 151 crore. At site, the proceedings were completed by the Unit Head of Aditya Aluminium – Mr Kailash Pandey.
Power produced from the installed Solar project will be utilised by Aditya Aluminium in the Aluminium Smelting process. The unit gains some incentives by using green energy.
According to the Odisha Renewable Policy, 2016, the state hosts high-capacity captive power plants (CPPs) which are obligated entities and are required to meet the solar purchase obligation (SPO) as specified by the Odisha State Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC). The entities can either set up their own solar projects or purchase power from state-funded ones to meet their SPO.
The average solar radiation for Odisha stands at 5.5 kwh per square metre, with average CUF (capacity utilisation factor) at 15-17 per cent for districts and close to 300 clear sunny days every year.
This pollution-free green energy certainly has many advantages, but it comes with its own share of challenges, says Kailash Pandey, who has a complete insight of the aluminium production process.
“Smelters require a consistent load network and uninterrupted power supply.For Aditya aluminium, this load requirement sums up to nearly 658 MW which is huge. However, power fluctuations are very common in solar plants as power generation depends on daylight. Cloudy weather, Rains may also cause huge power swings,” Pandey points out. “Controlling turbo generators during the power swing is an upheaval task in terms of boiler stability, electricity import and export as we are connected to the grid.”
Load and generation management during grid islanding and blackout conditions is another major challenge. Regardless, Aditya Alumina has taken certain measures to overcome the issues, adds Pandey.
The fluctuations in power generation are taken care of by the intelligent load shedding system, that is Composite Islanding and Load Management System (CILMS).
To conclude, addition of Solar power generation has enabled Aditya Aluminium and in turn, Hindalco to produce Greener aluminium which shall lead to sustainability of the business going forward.