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Yahoo India wind energy plan yet to take off after 3.5 years

Wind energy has witnessed a lot of activity in recent times in India. Panchabuta, has earlier talked about the  Generation Based Incentives (GBI) scheme for grid connected wind power projects with the objective of broadening the investors base by attracting FDI and independent power producers.

As readers of Panchabuta are aware, India had 11,800 MW of wind power installed at the end of March 2010 according to the Indian Wind Energy Association, making it the world’s fifth largest wind power market.

As readers are aware, a number of manufacturers have announced big expansion plans in manufacturing capacity in India  and research reports indicate, that cumulative installed capacities will advance at a CAGR of 14% during FY 2011-FY 2014.

However, after numerous success stories of IPP in wind and successful installations, it seems odd that  MNC’s like Yahoo seems to be facing a problem in executing their wind energy plans in India.

 The WTG vendors in India also provide extremely good turnkey solutions and numerous corporates right from those in manufacturing sector to textile etc., have gone ahead and set up captive wind farms or group captive wind farms not only to become green but also to handle their electricity requirement at a lower cost.

Yahoo’s wind mill search runs dry in India

More than three-and-a-half years after announcing ambitious plans in October 2007 to become carbon neutral by investing in wind energy projects in India, internet search giant Yahoo Inc is yet to open its account here for such projects.

“The short answer is there is no current activity,” Christina Page, Yahoo’s director for climate and energy strategy, wrote in a response to DNA’s query requesting details of Yahoo’s wind energy investments in India. Page did not elaborate on why there is no current activity.

In 2007, Yahoo was ahead of the curve, at least in terms of posturing, when it said it will invest in wind energy projects in India to offset its then annual green house gas emissions of 250,000 metric tonne.

“Yahoo is partnering with local businesses to purchase (carbon) offsets from 43 wind turbines of 750 kilowatt (each) in Vankuswade, Maharashtra and Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu,” Yahoo’s said in October 2007.

A spokesperson for Yahoo India said that there was “nothing more to add,” to what its global spokesperson has already said.
Vestas India, the Indian arm of the Denmark-based firm Vestas Wind Technology, has ongoing projects in Vankuswade and Tenkasi — the locations Yahoo claimed to have identified for investment.

According a spokesperson for Vestas India, neither does Yahoo have any investments at present at these locations, nor has it been in discussions with that company for investing at any point of time.

Yahoo had hired the services of two firms, EcoSecurities and CantorCO2e, that deal in international carbon trade to “source, vet, and execute” its projects in India and Brazil.

DNA was not able to reach the India office of CantorCo2e, either on phone or via e-mails. E-mailed queries to EcoSecurities remained unanswered.

For Yahoo, running of its energy-hungry data centres means consumption of vast amounts of electric power, which may be made using coal, gas or oil, emitting large amounts of green house gas during production. Hence, Yahoo wants to offset the greenhouse gas emission by investing in cleaner energy projects across the world.

“This investment was particularly important to us, as India is one of the most carbon-producing regions in the world,” Page had noted in 2007.

“With our rapidly growing presence in India, we felt a sense of responsibility to encourage the development and use of cleaner energy there,” she said.

“Doubts about long-term sustainability of investments here is one reason why foreign investors are not sure about spending on renewable energy projects for carbon credits,” said Arvind Sharma, director- climate change and sustainability at KPMG.

“While there is no dearth of opportunity to develop wind energy projects, issues around governance and reporting transparency make investment with a long-term view a difficult proposition for foreign investors.”

The  installation  in India being range bound  between 1470-1750MW  a year over the last five years and the installed capacity for 2009-10 was around 1565MW. This year the expected capacity is close to around 2200MW according to officials and around 450 MW is expected to be covered under GBI.

What is unclear is how Mr. Arvind Sharma, director- climate change and sustainability at KPMG has said the above, given that numerous wind IPP developers have been extremely succesful in capacity installations. Further developers and foreign investors that Panchabuta has spoken to have been very confident of the wind story in India and this is reflected in the capacity additions under the GBI that has happened this year. There has also been a number of projects that are getting registered under the newly announced Renewable Energy Certificate mechanism.

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