A recent study has noted that with the right and sustained incentives to the wind energy sector, it can generate as much as 24 percent of India’s total power demand by 2030.
The study conducted by the Global Wind Energy Council and the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association found that India needs a national level revolution in the wind energy sector similar to the National Solar Mission which aims at installing 20,000 MW of solar energy power plants by 2022.
While wind energy is the most popular renewable energy resource in India and, at 12,010 MW, comprises of nearly 70 percent of the total renewable energy generation capacity installed in India. As far as installed capacity is concerned India is the fifth largest wind energy market however, there is a huge gap in the installed capacity and the actual generation.
One significant advantage that India enjoys is the presence of the world’s third largest wind turbine manufacturer, Suzlon. Suzlon grabbed about 10 percent of global wind energy market share when it acquired RePower in 2007. This acquisition allowed Suzlon to provide complete end-to-end integrated wind energy solutions. The Indian wind energy major has now mastered the process of manufacturing, designing, installation, power evacuation and maintenance of the wind farm according to the customers needs. This has considerably streamlined the process of wind farm installation especially for the private players.
However, the gap between installed capacity and actual generation remains a serious concern. For this purpose, consistent investment in research and development needs to be made. Suzlon can lead the way here as well. With RePower’s acquisition it has acquired access to the cutting-edge European wind energy technology. Hopefully, Suzlon and other companies can bring much-needed improvements in wind turbine designs and generation systems to bridge the gap between installed capacity and actual generation.
India is yet to assess the offshore wind energy potential as previous studies completely ignored that aspect. Additionally, the current government data is not adequate as it does not measure the true wind energy resource available. With the improvement in technology and increase in the hub height of the wind turbine it has become possible to generate more electricity than thought earlier. India must utilize the vast untapped wind energy resource it is blessed with.
Tariffs for power generated from wind farm is the most competitive to coal-generated power among all renewable energy sources. Government-backed policies, availability of efficient technology and financial aid through Clean Development Mechanism have made the tariff rates cheaper. The government has also given right to the independent power producers to sell the power generated to power exchanges or through individual power purchase agreements which fetch them higher tariffs rates. Similar, economic and financial incentives need to be offered to investors in order to sustain the growth in the sector.
An impressive 200 MW capacity was added from April to June this year. This growth is a testament to the favorable investment environment for the wind energy sector in India. However, vast pockets of resources remain untapped, specifically, along the coastline. For further and sustained growth it is important that the government helps the private sector by, providing incentives in terms of attractive tariffs, setting up research and development facilities necessary for developing low-cost but high efficiency wind turbines and developing new sites for wind energy exploitation.
Hat tip: iGovernment
Photo credit: nateOne at Flickr (Creative Commons)
The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views and do not represent those of TERI/TERI University where the author is currently pursuing a Master’s degree.
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