Power crisis? Winds in favour of India
India has vast wind energy potential than that has been estimated earlier and has the capability to be the world leader in this sector, according to three young Indian scientists based in the elite Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA.
The findings by Amol Phadke, Ranjit Bharvirkar and Jagmmet Khangura published in the latest edition of the International Energy Studies can have major implications for the Indian power sector.
“India’s total wind energy potential ranges from 2,006,000MW to 3,121,000MW,” said the paper authored by Phadke and team. The study was done with inputs collected from institutions like Chennai-based Centre for Wind Energy Technology (CWET). They have also found that power from wind farms could be made available to the consumers at the rate of Rs4.50 per unit.
“We have found that the southern peninsular India alone has the potential to generate 1,00,000MW wind energy. The Berkeley team had collected a lot of data from us with which they conducted the study,” Dr S Gomathynayagam, executive director, CWET, told DNA. As on date, India’s installed capacity to generate wind energy is a mere 13,000MW with Tamil Nadu accounting for 6,500MW.
The study by Phadke and team could be a big game changer in India’s renewable energy industry. They found that their estimates are 20 to 30 times more than that of the current wind energy potential of India. Their study says that 95% of India’s wind energy potential is concentrated in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
What makes the study interesting is that for harnessing the 2,006 to 3,000GW wind energy, India need use only 1629sqkm or 0.05% of its total land area. And Phadke and his colleagues found that there is no need to trespass into forest lands, reserved lands, farm lands, water bodies, urban or protected areas to set up wind turbines.
“The wind farms could be set up within 3% of the 1629sqkm land and the remaining part could be used for other purposes,” said the research paper.
Reassessments in countries like the US and China have found much higher wind energy potential due to better technology, hub heights and size of the wind turbines. According to CWET which prepared the Indian Wind Atlas 2010, only 2% of the windy-land has been used to set up wind farms.