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Tamil Nadu wind power growth slackens on infra woes

According to reports, despite being the countrys windiest state,Tamil Nadus windmill capacity addition has fallen 85% — from 514MW added between January and August in 2012 to 75MW during the corresponding period this year.Companies in the state which has the highest wind power potential in the country and contributes 40% of Indias wind power generation have,for long,been complaining about the lack of distribution infrastructure.It is only now that the pinch is beginning to be felt with capacity addition actually falling.

There have been serious evacuation issues in the state for a long time.This year windmills were asked to shut down even during high wind flows,which has impacted new projects, said Sunil Jain,president,Wind Independent Power Producers Association and CEO of Hero Future Energies.Though new transmission lines are being laid,any positive impact will be seen only after two or three years,power companies say.
The dip in wind power capacity addition also indicates the trend of companies moving from wind to solar to reap tax benefits.Since wind power earlier offered generous tax sops,many firms not in the core business of power generation set up windmills to make the most of the benefits.Wind power producers were given an accelerated depreciation benefit where companies could write off 80% of the project cost as depreciation during the first year and avail tax benefits.

Solar power firms can now avail this benefit while wind power producers cant.This is driving companies in textile and auto component manufacturing to look at setting up solar plants rather than wind, said Vineeth Vijayaraghavan, an industry expert and founder of Panchabuta , a renewable energy industry newsletter.While transmission is a problem for wind power,its not a big issue for solar plants as solar power is distributed across the state.So solar is a better option for companies in Tamil Nadu, he said.
Wind power capacity additions nationally fell from 1,888 MW during January-August 2012 to 1,404MW this year mostly on account of infrastructure,policy and land issues.

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