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Gujarat sets its sights on harnessing wind energy in the state

Gujarat has been in the forefront of renewable energy development and clearly leads the way in terms of developments of projects in solar, offshore, tidal among other areas.

The state has now seem to have set its sight on wind. According to reports, the Gujarat government has now set its sights on tapping wind energy potential in the state to the fullest, a senior energy department official said.

The existing installed wind power generation capacity in the state is around 1,900mw, around 15% of the total power generation capacity of the state which stands at 13,300mw. According to officials, coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch offer huge untapped potential for wind power generation.

“The wind power potential in the state is estimated at around 10,000mw. There is a lot of potential to generate clean and cheap energy by harnessing the wind energy, and this is what we are going to focus on,” said,  DJ Pandian, principal secretary, energy & petrochemicals department.

Sources said that some changes may be effected in policies to attract more developers to wind energy projects in the state.

The energy department recently held a meeting in this regard with wind project developers. The developers, while showing interest in setting up wind power projects, expressed concerns over setting up of power evacuation system.

In view of the developers’ concerns, the Gujarat Electricity Transmission Corporation Limited (GETCO) assured that it would invest substantial amounts to setup sub-stations in areas where wind power projects come up.

However, GETCO officials requested developers to inform them about potential sites in advance so that they can plan future activities accordingly.

Officials said that the energy department will hold another meeting with wind project developers in the ongoing month for further talks.
According to officials, 297mw wind power was installed in the state in 2009-10, while around 100mw was added in 2010-11.

The government expects substantial additions in wind power generation capacity in the state in the coming years.

In 2009, the state government announced various amendments in Wind Power Policy, including increasing the power sale tariff from Rs3.37 per unit to Rs3.56. The renewable energy power purchase obligation was also increased from 2% to 4.5%.

Wind energy is also cheaper than solar energy. An investment of Rs5-6 crore is required per MW of wind power, as compared with around Rs13-15 crore for solar energy. There is also a huge difference in power tariff of the two energy sources. While solar power costs Rs15 per unit, wind power costs only Rs3.56.

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