Top 5 destinations for wind energy in India

 India has incredible wind power resources. The development of wind power in India began in the 1990s, and has significantly increased in the last few years. Currently the country hosts over 21,000 MW of wind power with more than 16 world-class manufacturers. Primarily wind power development in India was driven by the incentives offered to various industrial customers through Accelerated Depreciation (AD) benefits.
Commenting on the current status in Indian wind power sector, Kailash Tarachandani, CEO, Inox Wind says, “Although India is a relative newcomer to the wind industry compared with the Western world, it has the 5th largest installed wind power capacity in the world. In fact during 2009-10, India’s growth rate was highest among the other top four countries. Wind energy as a renewable, non-polluting and affordable source directly avoids dependency on fossil fuels leading to a green and clean energy scenario.”
Ramesh Kymal, Chairman and Managing Director, Gamesa India adds, “Wind power has seen a cumulative capacity addition of over 17,000 MW when AD was removed in year 2012. With the advent of a new segment of customers, the Independent Power Producers (IPP’s), the market started to incline towards the Generation Based Incentive (GBI) scheme. Jointly, AD and GBI was responsible for a capacity addition of around 3,200 MW in the year 2011-12. The following year when both the schemes were removed capacity addition fell by almost 50 per cent falling to 1,699 MW in the year 2012-13 and to recover in 2013-14 with the reintroduction of GBI benefit.”
The growth of wind energy in India is enormous and proves to be one of the most effective solutions to the problem of depleting fossil fuels, importing of coal, greenhouse gas emission, environmental pollution etc. So, which areas of the country are contributing to this growth and have the best wind resources? Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan are considered as the top five destinations for wind power in India.
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu has been enjoying leadership position in wind energy sector in India. The southern state has 7,200 MW of windmills, in last two years the state witnessed a slow down with capacity addition coming down. But Tamil Nadu is ambitiously planning to add more 5,000 MW in the next five years.
A Srinivasan, Executive, Indian Wind Power Association says, “Wind farms can be set up only in windy locations. Therefore development of wind farms is location specific. In terms of existing installed capacity, Tamil Nadu is the leader with almost 36 per cent of the total installed capacity in the country.”
According to Dr S Gomathinayagam, Executive Director, C-WET, “Tamil Nadu is the most favoured destination for some IPPs who are able to draw their own grid lines and transmission infra structure due to the excellent wind conditions prevailing in the wake of Western Ghats.”
He further added, “One of the reasons Tamil Nadu holds this position is that they have more than 40 per cent of installed capacity in India with very high level of penetration in the State’s energy mix in terms of grid connected electricity.”
Mr Kymal says, “It is interesting to note that historically, wind development has been predominantly concentrated across 2-3 states in any given year, due to the favourable tariff policies and infrastructure facilities. Tamil Nadu has been always in the picture until last two years where it saw a slowdown due insufficient power evacuation.” Gamesa in its first year of commercial operations became the market leader in the state during the year 2011-12 with over 400 MW installed in a single year. Gujarat
After Tamil Nadu, investment in wind energy is moving towards Gujarat. In the past few years, Gujarat government had been banking heavily on wind power. The state of Gujarat has the benefit a 1,600 km long coastline and plenty of land availability for wind power generation.
It has registered highest growth in wind power generation during last few years, placing it on the second position after Tamil Nadu in India’s wind energy sector. The installed capacity of wind power in the state rose from 150 MW in 2001 to 3,147 MW in 2013.
Last year, Gujarat government approved Wind Energy Policy to expedite and encourage development of wind power generation activities in the state. Looking at its growth pace a number of private investors has entered into Gujarat’s wind energy sector.
Dr Gomathinayagam says, “The reasons for Gujarat being one of the most favoured destinations for the wind turbine investors is the tariff payment by utility which is one of the few DISCOMs running in profit. In addition, the state also has adequate infrastructure in terms of power evacuation and windy land availability.”
Maharashtra
In Maharashtra, wind is the most explored renewable energy. It has 2,976 MW of wind energy installed capacity. Due to the long-term certainty provided by the prevalent regulatory framework and several other policy initiatives by state government, there has been significant development of installed capacity based on renewable energy sources, particularly wind energy.According to Maharashtra Energy Development Agency, investor-friendly policies of the Government of Maharashtra and technical viability of demonstration projects have attracted private investment of more than ` 11,895 crores in the wind sector so far. As of 31 December 2013 the installed capacity of wind power in Maharashtra is 2,976 MW.
According to Mr Kymal, “Maharashtra has been very encouraging for wind power investment and over the years it has added over 4,000 MW to the state grid. The state witnessed a high level of activity in the last two years, where it added 1,300 MW and Gamesa during the same period was able to capture over 25 per cent market in the state adding 334 MW aided by a favourable tariff policy which is amongst the highest in the country.”
Commenting on the advantages of Maharashtra in becoming a favourable destination for wind power, Dr Gomathinayagam says, “Maharashtra has a zone wise tariff and pre-allocated land for wind farm development.”
Karnataka
Karnataka has good wind potential. There are many small wind farms in Karnataka, making it one of the states in India which has a high number of wind mill farms. Chitradurga, Gadag are some of the districts where there are a large number of windmills.
According to Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd’s report, of an estimated potential of 23,585 MW in the renewable energy sector, the Karnataka government has so far allotted projects for a capacity of 14,391 Mw.
“Because of the estimated capacity, Karnataka is one of the top five destinations for new investments in wind energy,” Mr Srinivasan says.
“Karnataka has been quite selective in signing PPAs but has even permitted to set up wind mills in some of the forest lands recently,” Dr Gomathinayagam noted.
Rajasthan
With more than 300 days of optimum sunshine and wind, Rajasthan is blessed with plentiful natural resource. Rajasthan has made significant strides in the last few years in the power sector. The sector has witnessed increased private sector participation.
Rajasthan is one of India’s leading states in tapping wind energy for power generation. According to Bureau of Investment Promotion Rajasthan, the gross wind energy potential in the state has been estimated at 5,400 MW out of which a total of 1,825.995 MW wind power capacity has been installed.
Other destinationsApart from the above-mentioned states, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh too are preferred for wind power generation.
Andhra Pradesh looks promising, although it is yet to tap full potential in wind power. The estimated gross potentiality of wind power generation in the state is 14,497 MW. The installed capacity of wind power projects at present is 564.09 MW and feasibility clearance on the existing network has been issued for evacuation of power for 1,098 MW. Feasibility for evacuation on the proposed network is given for about 1,970 MW. Andhra Pradesh government has been promoting wind energy with private participation.
Mr Kymal comments, “Andhra Pradesh is looking a very promising state with the revised policy framework. The state added around 300 MW last year which is 40 per cent of the capacity addition in the state till date.” Gamesa has added 100 MW wind power during the last year.
Madhya Pradesh state government has announced 800 MW wind power projects to be set up in the state. At present, 324 MW capacity wind energy projects have already been completed in the state, and another 7 projects with total capacity of 217.8 MW are under construction. This apart, 39 projects of 1260 MW power capacity have been allotted to private sector.
According to Dr Gomathinayagam, “Apart from the five top destinations for wind farms, Madhya Pradesh has attracted towards the end of the financial year considerable installations due to the highest ‘feed-in-tariff’ per unit of (kWh) wind generated electricity.”
However, Mr Kymal observes, “Though the state has not added much capacity addition over the years, Madhya Pradesh has looked very lucrative for the investors with the recent tariff revision.”
Maharashtra has been very encouraging for wind power investment and over the years it has added over 4,000 MW to the state grid- Ramesh Kymal, Chairman and MD, Gamesa India
Wind energy as a renewable, non-polluting and affordable source directly avoids dependency on fossil fuels leading to a green and clean energy scenario- Kailash Tarachandani, CEO, Inox Wind
Because of the estimated capacity, Karnataka is one of the top five destinations for new investments in wind energy- A Srinivasan, Executive, Indian Wind Power Association
The reasons for Gujarat being one of the most favoured destinations for the wind turbine investors is the tariff payment by utility which is one of the few DISCOMs running in profit.- Dr S Gomathinayagam, Executive Director, C-WET

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