Chief Minister of Kerala Shri. Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated Cochin International Airport Ltd.’s (CIAL) 4.5-MW Arippara hydroelectric power project on Nov. 6, 2021.
It is estimated that the plant – on the Iruvazhinji River at Arippara, near Kodencheri in Kozhikode district, India — will generate 14 million units of power annually.
Vijayan said the government is planning to implement low-cost environmentally-friendly power projects based on non-conventional energy sources in collaboration with local self-governments and cooperative bodies. “The government’s position is that power generation should not be dependent on renewable energy sources alone. We aim to generate maximum energy from water, wind and sunlight. The previous LDF Government had initiated several measures to implement energy generation projects and they are being pursued vigorously” Vijayan said.
He said that the power plant at Arippara was landmark in the history of CIAL, which runs its airport fully on solar power. The hydro project was the next big leap. Being a project with the majority of civil works to be done along the river banks, the works were severely affected during the two floods of 2018 and 2019. Many additional precautions had to be taken by modifying the designs and by introducing additional retaining structures to ensure safe working conditions. CIAL also had to face challenges like non-availability of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and court litigation. Nevertheless, CIAL was able to complete the project as per schedule.
The project was awarded to CIAL by the State Power Department as per the Kerala Small Hydro power policy under the build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis for a lease period of 30 years. CIAL constructed a weir dam across the Iruvazhinji River and hydromechanical and electromechanical systems.
CIAL purchased 5 acres of land from 32 residents and the total project cost is Rs 52 crore. The powerhouse would generate around 1.08 lakh unit of power a day during peak flow days and the plant could be operational in full capacity for 130 days in a year. Being a run-of-river project, CIAL SHP works on limited storage of water, causing no adverse effect on the environment, CIAL said. The scheme includes an overflow-type weir across the river, which diverts the water to an intake pool from where the intake structure and connected water conductor system (WCS) start. A surge tank was constructed to moderate the water flow during load acceptance and load rejection time. A penstock feeds two 2.25-MW horizontal turbines in the powerhouse on the right bank of the river.