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Karnataka wind energy sector sees turnaround

According to reports, Karnataka is now emerging as a hot destination for investments in the wind energy sector. Several IPPs (Independent Power Producers) and wind farm developers have announced plans to set up shop in Karnataka — the State with the largest capacity for wind power in India.

The State has an estimated wind potential of 8,591 MW, of which, only 1,576.2 MW has been actually realised as on December 2010, according to the World Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE).

Until recently, though the State had the potential, Karnataka was not so much in the reckoning because depreciation benefits and policies were better in Tamil Nadu.

However, policies are in place now and companies are moving into Karnataka.

Chennai-based Orient Green Power Ltd is one such with plans to put up a 50 MW project at an investment of Rs 330 crore.

“The project is given to Suzlon on a turnkey basis and is expected to be commissioned during the second quarter of 2012-2013,” Mr P. Krishnakumar, Managing Director, OGPL, told Business Line.

Spanish wind power major, Gamesa, will bring in another 50 MW from a wind farm in Belgaum district. Mr Ramesh Kymal, Gamesa India’s Managing Director, told Business Line recently that the transmission infrastructure in Karnataka was not as good as in Maharashtra; it was a lot better than in Tamil Nadu and pointed out that the tariff of Rs 3.70 a unit in Karnataka was better.

Bangalore based-companies which hitherto had smaller capacity in Karnataka are also now looking at more.

Bangalore-based Bhoruka Power Corporation Ltd is adding a 25.5 MW wind farm at Gadag at an investment of Rs 180 crore to be commissioned by March 2012, and is also working on another 100 MW farm at Chikmanglur, Mr S. Chandrashekar, Managing Director, Bhoruka Power and Karnataka Council Chairman of CII, said.

Fortune Five Hydel Projects Pvt Ltd, part of Bangalore-based Fiza Group, will bring in another 100 MW in Bijapur district.

The company has executed windprojects for 500 MW country-wide and targets another 750 MW of wind energy.

At Rs 6 crore a MW, Karnataka will easily see an inflow of over Rs 2,000 crore for wind farms in the coming months. However, issues regarding forest clearance and land acquisition might hinder the smooth flow of investments.

“Lot of capacity additions are coming up but land acquisition and forest clearance where there is good power is an issue,” Mr Chandrashekar said. Also, while policies are in place, since several wind farms are coming up in rural Karnataka and substations need to be added to increase capacity additions to the grid,” he added.

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