According to a recently released report by the Global Wind Energy Council, India’s wind energy capacity could increase by five times its current installed capacity, if the wind energy sector is supported by agressive policies. According to the Ministry of New and Renewable energy, India’s wind energy capacity stood at 13,065 MW (December 2010).
According to the report, India Wind Energy Outlook, even in the absence of any new policies the wind energy capacity is likely to double to about 24 GW by 2020 and further increase to more than 30.5 GW by 2030. If the current policies are fully implemented, the installed capacity is likely to grow by almost four times to over 46 GW by 2020 and then more than double to over 108 GW within the next ten years.
The report goes on to predict that if the government aggressively pushes for expansion of wind energy infrastructure in the country through pro-industry policies and the offshore wind sector opens up in the near future, the installed capacity could grow to five times, from 2010 levels, to 65 GW by 2020 and then reach a staggering 165 GW by 2030.
Wind energy sector in India has grown at a tremendous rate over the last one decade. It now contributes over 70 percent of the total renewable energy installed capacity in India. The growth has been a result of variety of incentives being offered by various state governments. Governments in states with significant wind energy resources have been offering financial incentives like tax breaks, preferential feed-in tariffs and duty waivers to wind energy project developers.
And while the wind energy sector is the most mature among all the renewable energy sectors in India, there is still a massive scope of expansion in this sector. The wind energy resources have been gravely underestimated at around 49 GW. The wind resources estimation done by the Indian government was based on the mast heights of 50 meters whereas today wind turbines with hub heights of over 80 meters are available. According to the World Institute of Sustainable Energy India’s onshore wind energy resources are between 65 to 100 GW.
Additionally, no study has yet been conducted to determine the offshore wind energy resources, The Centre for Wind Energy Technology has recently undertaken a study to determine the offshore wind resources in some of India’s south coastal regions. At least of the major power generation companies in India has already sort approval to set up an offshore wind farm.
Policies announced by the Central government are also likely to fuel capacity addition in the wind energy sector. The state governments have been obligated to procurement a set minimum percentage of their energy consumption from renewable energy sources, under the Renewable Purchase Obligation. The state governments can set their own targets but need to increase those targets by at least one percent every year. The states which fail to fulfill their RPOs must purchase Renewable Energy Certificates from renewable energy-based power plants. Many states with substantial wind energy resources have announced wind-specific RPO targets.
Several major wind energy technology companies have set up base in India. Companies like GE Wind, Gamesa, Enercon, Siemens, Suzlon, Kenersys and Vestas have launched latest and state-of-the-art products for the project developers.
Therefore, it is safe to say that capacity addition in the wind energy sector in India is likely to continue at a rapid pace. However, whether the installed capacities projected in the GWEC report are achieved would depend on the government policies in the medium to long-term.
Image: k c m (Flickr)/CC
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