Wind Energy: The Fastest Growing Renewable Energy Technology

Worldwide, wind energy is accepted as one of the most developed, cost-effective and proven renewable energy technologies to meet increasing electricity demands in a sustainable manner. While, onshore wind energy technologies have reached to a stage of mass deployment and have become competitive with fossil fuel based electricity generation with supportive policy regimes across the world, exploitation of offshore wind energy is yet to reach a comparable scale.

India ranks 5th in terms of installed capacity from wind energy projects globally which has reached to 18522 MW as on 31.01.2013. Wind energy is the fastest growing renewable energy technology for generating grid connected power amongst various renewable energy sources. The preliminary assessment along the coastline suggests that there could be potential to develop offshore wind energy along Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra coasts.

Setting up of offshore wind energy demonstration projects depends upon firming of the wind resource, oceanographic studies, environmental impact assessment and various clearances required for such projects as well as the presence of a policy framework.

The Government has constituted an Offshore Wind Energy Steering Committee under the chairmanship of Secretary, MNRE associating the stakeholder Ministries to steer the offshore wind energy development in the country in a directed and focused manner including modality for inter-agency coordination.

The Steering committee in its meeting held in March, 2012, decided to constitute a sub-committee under the chairmanship of Chairman, Tamil Nadu Electricity Board to suggest draft policy guidelines for development of offshore wind energy activities in the country. The sub-committee has submitted its report to the Ministry.

The development of offshore wind energy projects also depends upon firming of wind resource, oceanographic studies, environmental impact assessment, infrastructure to support fabrication, interconnection and evacuation of electricity from these systems, clearances required from various Ministries/stakeholders etc.

The present wind power installed capacity in the country is 19051 MW whereas the nuclear power installed capacity is 4780 MW. As per information available in Central Electricity Agency’s website, nuclear power projects have generated 13.72 Billion units of electricity during April-August, 2012, whereas wind power projects have generated 18.91 Billion units of electricity during the corresponding period. Depending upon functionality of different type of power plants, the wind energy contribution in terms of generation during peak windy season in Tamil Nadu is around 30%.

On account of non-availability of state policies to promote wind power development, transportation problems and gusty nature of winds, as per information available with Ministry, there is no proposal for installation of wind power projects in Lakshadweep.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) will be the nodal ministry for development of Offshore Wind Energy in India and act as one of the government entities, among others, for Development and Use of Maritime Space within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the country. As the nodal ministry, role of MNRE will include:

Ø  Overall  monitoring of the offshore wind development in the country.

Ø  Co-ordination with other Ministries/Departments

Ø  Issuing guidelines/directives for development of offshore wind energy.

Ø  Oversee working and to provide necessary support to National Offshore Wind Energy (NOWA) for smooth functioning.

Ø  Promoting indigenous research for technology development.

State-Wise Wind Power Installed Capacity (MW)

(Up to 31.12.2012)

STATE                                              INSTALLED CAPACITY

Andhra Pradesh                           435

Gujarat                                           3093

Karnataka                                      2113

Kerala                                             35

Madhya Pradesh                          386

Maharashtra                                 2976

Rajasthan                                      2355

Tamil Nadu                                   7153

Others                                           4

Total                                              18550

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has been promoting the development and deployment of various technologies for increasing the installed capacity of grid interactive and off-grid renewable power. Towards this end, the government has been offering a number of fiscal and financial incentives to investors in increasing the penetration of renewable power in the energy and electricity mix of the country. India’s renewable energy installed capacity has grown from 3.9 GW in 2002-03 to about 27.3 GW in January 2013. Wind energy has been the predominant contributor to this growth. It also accounts for 68% of the installed capacity, followed by small hydro power (3.55 GW), biomass power (3.56 GW) and solar power (1.4 GW).

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