India’s renewable energy sector achieved yet another major milestone. The country’s wind energy capacity crossed the 10% share mark in the overall installed base in the last quarter of 2018.
Wind energy remains the dominant technology in India’s nearly 76 gigawatts of renewable energy installed capacity (as of 31 December 2018). India saw the addition of 523 megawatts of wind energy capacity in the last quarter of 2018, pushing the total wind energy installed capacity to over 35 gigawatts. India’s total power generation installed capacity stood at 351 gigawatts at the end of last year.
Wind energy has remained the largest renewable energy technology in India, in terms of installed capacity, for several years. Being a mature technology, the presence of domestic and international turbine manufacturers, supportive feed-in tariff regimes across multiple states, early identification of wind energy potential in the country, and financial and tax incentives associated with installed of wind energy projects bolstered the sector.
However, of late the capacity addition has been highly regulated and nearly fully linked to the wind energy tenders issued by the central and state governments. Since the introduction of competitive auction regime in February 2017, India has auctioned 9.8 gigawatts of wind energy capacity. A very large majority of this capacity is under various stages of development.
While being a major milestone for the wind energy sector in India, the rise in installed capacity has slowed down with the government’s focus shifting towards the solar power sector over the last few years. The installed wind energy capacity in India has increased from around 23.4 gigawatts at the end March 2015 to 35.1 gigawatts at the end of December 2018. The average quarterly capacity addition in the sector over this period has been around just 800 megawatts. Only in three of the 14 quarters between this period has the sector seen capacity addition of over 1 gigawatts.
In comparison, India’s solar power capacity has grown from 3.7 gigawatts at the end of March 2015 to over 26 gigawatts at the end of December 2018. The average quarterly capacity addition has been twice that in the wind energy capacity. Eight of the 14 quarters during the period have seen more than 1 gigawatts of capacity addition.
Growth in the solar power sector will continue to outpace that in the wind energy capacity, and with less than 10 gigawatts of difference now between the two technologies, the former could overtake the latter in a matter of months.
India plans to have an installed wind energy capacity of 70 gigawatts by March 2022, and 140 gigawatts by March 2030. The share of wind energy in India’s total power generation stands at 4.6% between January and November 2018, up from 4.1% in 2017.