Wind Energy In India: An Overview

Second only to solar energy in terms of its inherent potential in India, wind energy has been a vastly under-utilised renewable resource in terms of India’s growing energy needs. India, which already has 23 GW of onshore wind power capacity, is also blessed with a massive coastline that exceeds approx 7,600 kilometers (km) creating an enormous inherent potential for developing offshore wind energy.

With the central government actively promoting the development and use of energy from renewable sources as a viable means to achieve energy security and curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions emanating from the electricity sector, harnessing the vast potential offered by wind energy is high on the agenda of both the government and wind IPP.

An important milestone in India’s ongoing endeavour to promote renewable energy projects has been the approval granted to the National Offshore W.E. Policy in September this year. The policy designates the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) as the central ministry responsible for the development of all offshore areas within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

The policy also mandates the National Institute of Wind Energy as the nodal agency responsible for offshore W.E. development in the country, authorizing it to allot wind energy blocks offshore and coordinate efforts with related ministries and agencies.

The new policy has opened up several new possibilities for wind IPP. One of the key advantages of off-shore wind energy is that large projects (1,000 MW-plus) can now be developed with the capacity utilization factor ranging from 45-50%. This is also expected to enable better utilization of transmission infrastructure and better despatchability, with insignificant impact on land requirements.

According to CEA data, wind energy has proven track record in India with 23,762 MW of installed capacity as of the end of the last financial year (March 31, 2015) as compared to approx 1,667 MW of installed capacity in 2002.

A major portion of capacity addition happened in 2011-12 with 3,197 MW of capacity being added in a single year. Tax sops that include measures like Accelerated Depreciation and Generation Based Incentive (GBI) have also acted as growth drivers for the W.E. sector in India.

As a result of the ambitious targets set forth by the government, private sector investment in the W.E. sector is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. A fact endorsed by a Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited (CRISIL) report which states that the W..E sector can attract INR 1 lakh crore of investment by 2020, if the costs of wind energy continue to head south vis-à-vis grid tariffs. The agency has further outlined the possibility of 4 GW of capacity addition in the WE sector every year over the next five years.

Further the government has assured industry stakeholders of its intention to continue accelerated depreciation benefits and generation based incentive (GBI) to the wind energy sector to fuel its the overall growth. In addition, the proposed National W.E. Mission is also expected to accelerate the growth of the W.E. sector with more emphasis on offshore wind energy.

Welspun Renewables has a reputation for developing some of the world’s biggest and highly efficient grid-connected wind and solar power plants in India and hold one of the largest renewable energy portfolios in India.

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