National Wind Energy Mission: Generate Power from Thin Air
India has an estimated gross wind power potential of 1,02,000 MW (assessed at 80 m height) which has been arrived at with certain practical assumptions. This potential is mainly in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. A total capacity of over 20,000 MW of wind power has so far been installed in the country. This success owes much to the concerted efforts of the Central Government and State Governments in providing a conducive environment for the growth of wind power through private sector investment.
Recognizing the importance of wind power in India, the Planning Commission had recommended establishment of a National Wind Energy Mission in the 12th Five Year Plan.
Dr. Satish B. Agnihotri, Secretary, MNRE indicated that the wind sector promotes manufacturing of wind mills, therefore making India a Global manufacturing hub; hence generates employment in the manufacturing industry as well as at the wind farms; and also at the same time reduces carbon emission. Apart from these three key activities also it generates power; through the technology we actually generate power from thin air. Hence wind sector is serving the mankind in more than one noble ways and hence the “infirm power” should be promoted and handled cautiously.
Honorable Minister, MNRE Dr. Farooq Abdullah said “We are doing a social service, a human service to the nation and to other countries”.
As rightly said by Dr. Alok Srivastava, Joint Secretary MNRE, in the context of the National Wind Energy Mission- India’s renewable energy sector is majorly driven by Wind Sector, which contributes to 80% of the total composition of renewable energy. Wind Sector in India reached a significant landmark by completing 20,000 MW of commissioned projects. The sector has grown in all the dimensions; CuF increased from 14% to 30%, turbines being deployed of the capacity 1.5 MW deployed, also the Non Performing Assets are as low as 2% of all the commissioned projects.
On the world map India is placed at fifth position and shall aspire to move up the table further by countering the bottlenecks faced in the India context.
There are key technical and regulatory issues faced by the Wind Industry which has brought down the aggressively growing wind industry. The major technical issue faced during grid integration is the evacuation of power. In the last year also due to lack of evacuation infrastructure, wind farms were asked by the utilities to back down and hence wind sector suffered a loss of 2.1 Billion Units in the past one year. This contributes to a greater financial loss to the power producers as well as energy deficiency of the power system.
Apart from the technical issues, there exists a regulatory challenge in the name of “Accelerated Depreciation Policy”. The wind sector added significant number of Mega Watts in the past two three years due to the backing of Accelerated Depreciation. The sector was growing so swiftly that people within the sector imagined and assumed the sector can still grow further with the same pace without AD. However the discontinuation of AD hit the prospects of the wind sector significantly.
There exists a need of a certain type of payment security mechanism so as to save the manufacturers from suffering. Also the Wind Mission shall focus on Off-Shore project deployment as the ministry plans to go into the sea.
As India aspires to become a superpower, energy security shall be a major aspect to focus on. The Minister, MNRE Dr. Farooq Abdullah had rightly stated “Governments will fall on energy”.