India’s wind power sector struggles to meet targets - GulfToday

India’s wind power sector struggles to meet targets

Meena Janardhan

Writer/Editor/Consultant. She has over 25 years of experience in the fields of environmental journalism and publishing.

Writer/Editor/Consultant. She has over 25 years of experience in the fields of environmental journalism and publishing.

Wind Energy

Representational image.

India’s wind energy sector is led by indigenous wind power industry and has shown consistent progress, as reported by the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. According to Ministry data, the expansion of the wind industry has resulted in a strong ecosystem, project operation capabilities and manufacturing base of about 10,000 MW per annum.

Wind is an intermittent and site-specific resource of energy and therefore, an extensive wind resource assessment is essential for the selection of potential sites. The government, through National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), has installed over 800 wind-monitoring stations all over country and issued wind potential maps at 50m, 80m, 100m and 120m above ground level. The recent assessment indicates a gross wind power potential of 302 GW in the country at 100 meter and 695.50 GW at 120 meter above ground level.

The total wind energy potential is 302 GW at a 100-meter hub height, according to the NIWE. Out of the total estimated potential, more than 95 per cent of commercially exploitable resources are located in seven states: Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. India is also blessed with a coastline of about 7600 km surrounded by water on three sides and has good prospects of harnessing offshore wind energy.

According to a report by Mongabay-India, the wind power sector is an important component in India’s plans to decarbonize its energy sector. Wind power accounts for 60 gigawatts (GW) of the 175 GW target of installed renewable capacity by 2022 and 140 GW of the 450 GW target by 2030.

But India’s wind power sector is struggling to match the growth of the solar sector and over the past few years, it has not been able to achieve its annual capacity installation target. The wind power industry and experts highlight that the reason for the stagnation is the shift to auction route that seeks the lowest per-unit cost in the wind sector, lack of financial incentives and difficulties in finding land for the projects.

Another report by Down to Earth states that India’s capacity to generate electricity from wind reached 39.2 gigawatts (GW) a year in March 2021. An addition of another 20 GW over the next five years was in the offing, according to Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

The compound annual growth rate for wind generation has been 11.39 per cent between 2010 and 2020, and for installed capacity, it has been 8.78 per cent. The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has set a target of installing 5 GW of offshore capacity by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030. In recent years, the wind energy sector has faced numerous challenges, and 2019 was no different.

But, in addition to the slowing economy, low tariffs, tariff caps and curtailments, the sector is also heavily burdened by a multitude of duties and tariffs. India also has yet to develop its offshore wind energy. India can generate 127 GW of offshore wind energy with its 7,600 km of coastline, according to the MNRE.

Though off-shore wind power projects are being pursued, they are considered financially unviable by many. The industry demands better policy for tariff and repowering of present projects, financial incentives and improved coordination with state governments

According to official data, India is behind on its annual wind energy installation target since 2017-18. Currently, India’s installed wind power capacity is 39.48 GW capacity, the fourth-highest wind installed capacity in the world. But there is uncertainty over whether the government can achieve its target of 60 GW by 2022, which currently seems difficult.

One of the reasons, according to the MNRE for the slowing down of the installation of the wind power projects, is the shift to a bidding route that seeks the lowest per-unit price during an auction.

The Government is promoting wind power projects in entire country through private sector investment by providing various fiscal and financial incentives. In addition to these fiscal and other incentives, technical support including wind resource assessment and identification of potential sites is offered. In order to facilitate inter-state sale of wind power, the inter-state transmission charges and losses have been waived off for wind and solar projects to be commissioned by March 2022.Guidelines have been issued to provide a framework for procurement of wind power through a transparent process of bidding including standardization of the process and defining of roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders.

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