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How are India's Least Windy Places Generating Wind Energy?

Feb 16th 2015 at 10:52 PM

Wind power generation in India amounts to nearly 66% of the entire installed renewable energy capacity. Needless to say, it is the most popular and strongest candidate featuring in the country’s sustainable energy policy.

India’s enormous wind potential is concentrated in the West, North-West, and coastal parts. It includes the eight states -- Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Orissa, and West Bengal.

With the current installed capacity of approximately 21 GW, which is only a minor part of the 103 GW potential that we have, most of the high wind density sites have already been utilized. But the low and medium density sites which hold the rest of the potential are yet to be exploited fully. And for that, the latest technology in wind turbines is being roped in.

In an effort to bring in the low density areas into mainstream, the preferential tariff will be elevated in an inverse proportion to the density, meaning that the lower the density, the higher preferential tariff will be granted. Preferential tariff is a mechanism that gives guaranteed grid access, long-term contracts, and profitable purchase prices.

Developers of new technology are rushing in with their high value products to cash in the opportunity. For instance, GE recently launched its 1.7-103 wind turbine, especially designed to maximize output in low wind speeds, in India.

Other Helping Factors

GBI: The Generation-Based Incentive (GBI) pays attractively for every unit of wind energy produced above the preferential tariff released by state governments.

Incentives of accelerated depreciation: The fact that the Indian government allows wind farm owners to claim an  accelerated depreciation on 80% of the equipment costs, in addition to the fact that wind is a freely available resource makes return-on-investment quick and promising.

Renewable Purchase Obligation: This scheme makes it necessary for large electricity consumers like power distribution companies to purchase a part of their total electricity from renewable energy sources. A Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) program was launched later to help customers fulfill the obligation.

These technical innovations and government support are going to help India take the right step towards fully utilizing the vast renewable potential of the country in the coming future. The Global Wind Energy Council has predicted that such initiatives along with the favorable international market scenario can make India produce 89 GW from wind energy by 2020, almost a four-fold increase from the present scenario  but achievable  nonetheless. Share your views in the comments section.

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