Presently, India has an installed power generation capacity of a little over 207.8GW, of which renewables account for about 25 GW, and wind makes up a majority of this installed capacity. In 2012, despite a slowing global economy, India’s electricity demand continued to rise. electricity shortages are common, and over 40% of the population has no access to modern energy services. India’s electricity demand is projected to more than triple between 2005 and 2030. In the recently released National electricity Plan (2012) the Central electricity Authority projected the need for 350-360 GW of total generation capacity by 2022.
India is the 3rd largest annual wind power market in the world, and provides great business opportunities for both domestic and foreign investors. The Indian wind power sector experienced record annual growth in 2011 with the addition of more than 3 GW of new installations. Diverse incentives supported by a long-term policy and regulatory framework at the central and state levels have played a crucial role in achieving this goal. Wind power is now increasingly accepted as a major complementary energy source for securing a sustainable and clean energy future for India.
Historically, wind energy has met and often exceeded the targets set for it under both the 10th Plan (2002-2007) and 11th Plan (2007-2012) periods. During the 10th Plan period the target set was of 1,500 mW whereas the actual installations were 5,427 mW. Similarly during the 11th Plan period the revised target was for 9,000 mW and the actual installations were much higher at 10,260 mW. The report of the sub-group for wind power development appointed by the ministry of New and renewable energy to develop the approach paper for the 12th Plan period (April 2012 to march 2017) fixed a reference target of 15,000 mW in new capacity additions, and an aspirational target of 25,000 mW. Importantly the report recommends the continuation of the Generation based Incentive scheme during the 12th Plan period. The report also prioritized the issue of transmission, which was a weak link in the value chain until now. A joint working group of the mNre, the ministry of Power, the Central electricity Authority and the Power Grid Corporation of India is looking at this issue.
However, for India to reach its potential and to boost the necessary investment in renewable energy it will be essential to introduce comprehensive, stable and long-term support policies, carefully designed to ensure that they operate in harmony with existing state level mechanisms so as to avoid reducing their effectiveness. Commercial wind power generation in India began in 1986. Many of the older low-capacity (< 500 kW) wind turbines installed more than 10 to 12 years ago occupy some of the best wind sites in India. These turbines need to be replaced with more efficient, larger capacity machines. one of the immediate benefits after repowering the old wind turbines is that more electricity can be generated from the same site.
A study on repowering potential conducted by WISe for the ministry of New and renewable energy estimated India’s current repowering potential at approximately 2,760 mW16 .
However due to a lack of policy guidelines and incentives for repowering, concerns are raised on a number of subjects including disposal of old machines, fragmented land ownership in existing wind farms, clarity on the feed-in tariff offered to newly repowered projects and constrained evacuation of the extra power generated. For example currently no project capacity increase is allowed in Tamil Nadu after repowering due to transmission constraints, thereby defeating the purpose of repowering an existing site. Consequently limited progress has been achieved in the absence.
By June 2012, as mandated under electricity Act20, 26 SerCs had fixed quotas (in terms of % of electricity being handled by the power utility) to procure power from renewable energy sources. The mandate, which is called a renewable Purchase Specification (rPS), varies from 0.5% to 10% in various states over 2012-13.
In 2011, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has announced new guidelines for setting up a wind energy projects. The ministry has revised its 2002 guidelines for setting up wind energy projects which stated that a site must have a minimum wind density of 200 W/m2 at 50 m hub height.
The government proposed the creation of the National Clean energy Fund (NCeF) in the Union budget 2010-2011 by imposing a clean energy tax (cess) of INr 50 (~ $1) per tonne on all coal produced as well as on coal imports in India.
(Courtesy: Ministry of New & Renewable Energy)