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Challenges faced by wind industry

According to reports, in the present scenario, Wind energy is techno-economically viable efficient alternative to fossil fuel, due to its zero emission factor and non pollutant nature, as in power generation process it does not emit greenhouse gases.

As of now, the renewable energy accounts for around 13 per cent of total installed capacity, with the largest share from wind energy which stands at around 70 per cent. There are two forces that will drive the growth of wind energy in India. One is the rising energy demand in India and the other is obligations on India’s part to encourage clean development.  There are abundant wind resources available in India; there is institution like Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET) which does regular assessment of wind resources. India also has cost advantage attributed to available indigenous wind technology.  However, the insufficient grid infrastructure, unattractive incentive policies and absence of an integrated policy framework deter the growth of the sector.

 Multitude of regulatory agencies, add to the confusion. While the policy environment for renewable energy in India has been improving in recent years, the wind industry is facing challenges in the aftermath of the sudden reduction in tax incentives.

Wind power is a mature and scalable clean energy technology and India holds a domestic advantage in it.  Established and proven wind turbine technology in India led to huge investments in the sector. India is emerging as a major wind turbine-manufacturing hub today. Over 15 existing manufacturers have a consolidated annual production capacity of over around 10,000 mw. Indian companies now export domestically manufactured wind turbines and blades to Australia, Brazil, Europe, USA and a few other countries.

Many of the older low-capacity (500 kw) wind turbines installed more than 10 to 12 years ago occupy some of the best wind sites in India. These turbines need to be replaced with more efficient, larger capacity machines for generating more power from such sites. A study on repowering potential conducted by ‘Wise’ for the ministry of new and renewable energy estimated India’s current repowering potential at approximately 2,760 mw. Due to lack of policy guidelines and incentives, states are not willing to repower the old wind machines, as concerns are raised on a number of subjects including disposal of old machines, fragmented land ownership in existing wind farms, clarity on the feed-in tariff offered to newly repowered projects and constrained evacuation of the extra power generated.

Wind energy technology helps prevent the adverse effects of climate change as well as boosting the low carbon economy. Established and proven wind turbine technology in India has led to huge investments in the sector. Increased domestic demand and expansion of the in–house manufacturing capacity of the Indian wind industry has resulted in attracting many new manufacturers into the fray.

Historically the Indian wind energy sector has met and occasionally exceeded its allocated target. However, the modest pace of utilisation of the country’s wind power manufacturing and resource potential in the recent times could be attributed to several factors which include inadequate grid infrastructure, land acquisition, high rate of interest, etc. There is need to create an adequate grid and transmission infrastructure across the states with significant wind potential so that the state distribution utilities are able to evacuate ever-increasing amounts of wind power. There has to be attractive incentive policies and an integrated policy framework in place to encourage investment in the sector. Land clearance for wind power installation and land conversion issues are very time taking and need to be made smooth.

The 12th Plan envisions installing 100 gw of new capacity of which 30 gw is projected to come from Renewable Energy Sources, of which wind would account for 15 Ggw The country is seeing about 3 GW in annual installations under the 12th Plan target. With right policies in place and proper incentive schemes, there is no doubt that the target could be met.

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