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Tamil Nadu may lose its leadership position in wind energy

According to reports, Tamil Nadu, which has been enjoying leadership position in wind energy sector in India, may lose out on its top position now as  investments are now shifting towards Gujarat and Rajasthan.

According to industry representatives, investment for setting up wind farms in Tamil Nadu have dropped to around Rs 600 crore invested so far this year, from Rs 7,000 crore 2011-12. Investments in the current fiscal year are also down, and one of the main reasons attributed for the drop is the poor infrastructure to evacuate the power produced.

According to Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA’s) estimate in 2011-12 about 1,000 MW of wind farms were installed. This translates into about Rs 6,500-7,000 crore investment in the state, most of which was for captive use. But last year this has come down to 170 MW and in the current year it is expected to be much lesser. It may be noted that 40% of the country’s installed wind farms are in Tamil Nadu.

“Till now, to my knowledge, about 100 MW which is roughly about Rs 600 crore has been invested so far this year, as compared to Rs 1,500 crore invested for setting up wind farms during the same period of last year,” said Ramesh Kymal, Chairman, Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA).

It clearly shows all the investments are going to other states, especially Gujarat and Rajasthan. “Its not that there is no installation happening. unfortunately, Tamil Nadu is losing out on investment”.

It may be noted, Gujarat has registered highest growth in wind power generation during past four years. Installed wind power generation capacities in the state has increased by 36% during 2011-12 to 2,966 megawatt (MW), making the state second only to Tamil Nadu in India’s wind energy sector.

Gujarat’s share in India’s total wind generation has increased from around 15% in 2011 to 17% in 2012. India’s total installed wind power capacities stand at 17,365 Mw for 2011-12.

Industry experts noted, in Rajasthan though the wind quality is not as good as it is inTamil Nadu, the tariff is good and it has also got some good infrastructure.

At a time when every unit of power generated matters to the state, Tamil Nadu lost close to 100 million units of wind power since several windmills are being shut down for several hours due to shortage of evacuation infrastructure.

According to industry, the State has wind farms, which can produce around 7,000 MW of power. A latest study by World Institute of Sustainable Energy, the potential is upto two lakh in the State.

Industry sources said that “unfortunately we are getting choked on the Policy front as well as infrastructure (transmission) front. Even existing turbines are not able to give its full potential when the wind is blowing”.

They noted, about 30% of electricity that goes into the system comes from Wind but the farms can give more 7,000 MW with plant load factor which is very high during the high wind season. Industry estimate is around Rs 1000-1500 MW is going waste since no transmission system is in place.

“Government is acting on it and building dedicated transmission lines so that power can directly come from Wind sites to Chennai. we are hoping that by next year, it gets better,” said Kymal.

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