Renewable energy takes India forward

The 1990s is when renewable energy industry made a beginning in the country, although the history of wind power generation goes back to 1985. That was when the then Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources began an exercise to collect wind data extensively across the country. After the exercise, the Ministry estimated the wind power potential of India at 45,000 MW. Today, the country has 20,000 MW of wind capacity and the latest estimate of the potential is over ten times that capacity. This journey was possible, thanks to policy initiatives. First, at a time when electricity generation was the Government’s preserve, the Government opened wind power to the private sector. It gave those who put up windmills the 100 per cent ‘accelerated depreciation’ benefit — a major tax saver. Besides, profits from wind-generated electricity were exempt from income tax for five years. About five years back, distribution utilities were mandated to buy a portion of electricity they sell to consumers from renewable energy sources. And, facilitating those States that did not have possibilities of generating electricity from renewable sources was the renewable energy certificate, which could be traded.

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