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posted on 05 April 2017

Will Wind Power Generation Put India Back On The Map Of Renewable Energy?

by The Indian Economist

-- thus post authored by Meghaa Gangahar

Today, renewable energy in India is embarking on a greener journey. This is supported by the fact that India generated a record-breaking 5,400 MW of wind power in 2016-17, breaking the previous record of 3,472 MW in 2015-16. It exceeded its goal of 4,000 MW by a visibly large margin.

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Take the month of March of this year for instance-as much as 2,026 MW was created in this month alone; considerably more than 1,700 MW that was created in March 2016. This expansion in wind energy generation has made India, the third largest greenhouse-gas emitter, the world’s fourth largest producer of wind energy.

The windy states

Among the twenty-nine states that India houses, a mere nine have experienced winds strong enough to generate power. Of the nine states, Andhra Pradesh was the leading state in the wind power capacity addition with 2,190 MW, over 40 per cent of the total added capacity in the past fiscal year. The state was followed by Gujarat with 1,275 MW and Karnataka with 882 MW.

A new approach

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is all set to achieve 60,000 MW of wind energy by the year 2022, with the generation of 175,000 MW of renewable energy on the whole. MNRE has taken several initiatives to help sustain growth in the wind sector. One such initiative was to introduce the system of bidding in wind energy auctions. The state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) conducted an auction towards the end of February, where the competitive bidding led to wind tariffs falling to an unprecedented 3.46 rupees per unit (without any direct or indirect subsidies) The recently fallen wind, as well as solar tariffs, have positioned renewable energy to compete with the cost-effectiveness of fossil fuels such as coal energy.

Another initiative is the ‘National Offshore Wind Energy Policy’, which aims to maximise the potential of India’s vast, 7,600 km-long coastlines. Gujarat and Tamil Nadu’s coastlines are expected to have the most conducive environment for harnessing offshore wind energy, harbouring an estimated potential capacity of 106,000MW and 60,000 MW, respectively. This is an indicator of the huge growth potential of wind energy, considering the onshore wind power potential is already estimated to be approximately 302 GW.

The MNRE also introduced the ‘Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy’ in 2016, a policy that seeks to provide a framework for proper hybridization of solar and wind technologies and promotes a large grid-connected system. This policy aims to ensure optimal and efficient utilisation of infrastructure as well as of land while minimising variable costs and increasing grid stability. The policy aims to achieve a hybrid energy capacity of 10 GW by the year 2022, aligning with India’s target of renewable energy for 2022.

Overcoming obstacles

Despite minor impediments such as squatters blocking potential sites, delays in signing of power purchase agreements and the lack of enthusiasm of distribution firms, the wind energy sector is growing steadily. To further accelerate the pace of growth, the government is working on these issues using the medium of discussion and debate through a series of meetings to disentangle and smoothen any issues that prevail between the different states.

At the Paris Climate Summit, India agreed on a renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022. By allocating new solar and wind energy projects to developers through competitive auctioning, India is expanding its renewable capacity by lowering installation costs. If these initiatives are sustained and boosted further, there is little doubt that India will meet its ambitious target well in time.

This post appeared at The Indian Economist 04 April 2017.

The Indian Economist is a content sharing partner of GEI.


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