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Wind to energise investments in Gadag – Karnataka

According to reports, the data available with Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL), roughly 19,347 mw power could be generated through renewable energy sources – and wind energy can contribute around 60 per cent of it.

On one hand, the district has received third highest capacity allocation for power generation through wind mills, on the other hand it has the highest percentage of installed capacity in the state. However, the potential needs to be tapped optimally and KREDL – the nodal agency to promote investments in green energy – is trying to bridge the demand-supply gulf in the energy-starved state.

Karnataka ranks fourth in wind power generation in the country, according to Union ministry of new and renewable energy data. It can generate 12,805 mw wills 600 wind farms. Of this, Gadag contributes around 1,067 mw through 57 wind farms. Although, the proportion of allocated capacity (power that can be generated) versus actual power generated is very poor across the state.

The state managed to generate only 1,930 mw in 2010 which is roughly 15 per cent of its allocated capacity. But Gadag, managed to generate power at 40 percent of its installed capacity of 422 mw with its 26 wind farms. With another 31 wind farms, KREDL officials expect to achieve its total allocation target.

Gadag has a geographical advantage over other districts to attract investments in this sector. Wind farms can function optimally at places with strong wind speeds. Gadag is situated at 659.8 metre above sea level where wind speed remains in the range of 6.4-7 metre per second, according to meteorological department. KREDL has also approved the wind velocity as suitable for wind power generation in the district.

Gadag has the distinct privilege to get the first wind turbine in the state in 1996, which was installed by NEPC India Ltd at Kappattagudda, near Nagavi village. Now, over 600 turbines have been installed by Enercon India Limited, Suzlon Energy Limited, Bhoruka Power Corporation Limited and some other companies.

KREDL managing director NS Prasanna Kumar told ET that varying temperature in region creates variation in air pressure, which is an important factor for wind generation. In addition to geography, the other parameter that establishes a location as suitable for wind mills is the elevation. High wind speed, important to harness power, is found in locations at higher elevations. The mountains in the district serve as a principle location for great wind power production.

Five major companies – Enercon India, Suzlon Energy, Bhorukar Power Corporation, JNI Investments & Trading and Tejasri Developers – were asked to meet 75 percent of allocated capacity of the district.

Until now, Suzlon Energy has commissioned units with an installed 125 mw out of 185 mw allotted to it. Enercon India has commissioned 186 mw out of 315 mw allotted, according to KREDL records. On the other hand, Subhash Projects & Marketing Limited (21 mw) and VRL Logistics Limited (42.5 mw) have almost installed the capacity allocated to them.

Mr Kumar of KREDL, which monitors every wind farm, informed that out of 57 licenced farms in the district 26 have been commissioned to their full or partial capacity. Rest are at various stages of completion. He expects that the entire allocated capacity would be commissioned in the next few years.

Gadag’s geographical advantage has pulled in many investments. S Chandrashekhar, Managing Director, Bhoruka Power Corporation said, the company chose Gadag, as the wind energy potential is one of the highest here, followed by Chitradurga and Belgaum. The company proposes to commission 26 mw wind farms in Gadag by March 2012. It has proposed to add close to 250 mw through wind power by 2013 out of which 102 mw will come from Gadag. The projects will be commissioned in phases, he added.

Senior Suzlon officials, who did not wish to be named said, the present installed capacity of company-run wind mills in Gadag is 167 mw and certainly plans for capacity expansion and taking up power generation by 200 mw annually. “Gadag will contribute a lion’s share.

With a good geographical advantage the hurdles for investments can be addressed by the government. There are incessant furor over land acquisition that impede the development of the sector.

On the other hand, companies view project execution as an uphill task due to requirement of multiple approvals from different departments and ministries. They want a single window system.

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