India wind power

Indian company Suzlon ranks among the world’s top manufacturers of wind turbines. A few year’s ago, it was modest textiles firm. And today, it is setting up massive wind mill projects in countries like China and Australia.

On the Indian home front, the federal government is zealously promoting the tapping of wind energy. A friendly tax regime has made wind mills project as an ideal and safe investment opportunity for the entrepreneurs. Bajaj Auto Limited, one of India’s automobile giants, happens to be among the earliest investors in wind energy. Today it gets 90 percent of its power from the wind. Now many other corporate houses have followed suit.

India is tapping wind power to generate over 8,000 megawatts electricity, and this is just the beginning. Just three percent of India’s total power mix now comes from renewable sources of energy.

Similar to the windmills ‘farm’ of Dhule, there is another project at Chalkewadi in Satara district of Maharashtra state and this boasts of more than 1000 windmills. "The Chalkewadi wind farm in Satara district is located 3500 feet above sea level. There are more than 100 windmills, which produce a large amount of electricity in the region," said Sandeep Shorotri, an expert on wind energy.

India has already attracted about $5 billion worth of investment in renewable energy over the past two years — leading to 4,000 megawatts of green power, mostly from wind — but the high initial investment cost of green power has deterred many investors. Experts say maximum energy should be generated through non-conventional energy source.

"For reducing global warming, there should be a minimum use of energy, and we should try that maximum energy should be produced from non-conventional source. In non-conventional energy the best is solar energy, second is wind energy and third is energy produced by sea waves as well as energy generated from hot water springs. All these are non-conventional source of energy, which can help in reducing global warming," noted Sandeep Shorotri.

India hopes to attract about $21 billion worth of investments in renewable energy during the 2007-2012 Five-Year Plan period. The wind energy has a number of advantages vis-à-vis other sources.

"Second benefit is that the cost of maintenance of wind mill is the least. Of course, initial cost is higher but that can be managed through some promotions and sponsorships. Third benefit is that its source is infinite. It is not that like if coal finishes work stops… There are no adverse effects. You have seen recently in Kaiga, where around 100 people were affected. In Russia a population of about twenty to thirty thousand was affected due to nuclear radiation. Fourth is that we can use the natural source of windmills as an eternal supplementary source of power," added Sandeep Shorotri, wind energy expert.

Shyam Saran, India’s special envoy for Climate Change, recently said that the country will have to work for making wind as a prime source of energy with an aim to safeguard the nation’s energy security. "So, in terms of insuring India’s energy security, even though the impact will not be immediate, we have to take decision now in order to insure that this becomes a major source of energy," Saran, said in New Delhi.

According to the latest study released by Global Wind Energy Council, the wind could generate a ‘considerable share’ of India’s power and the country’s total installed capacity for wind power could go up five times to 231 GW by 2030.

In spite of its pledge to adopt clean technology, pollution-spewing coal remains the backbone of India’s power sector — making up about 60 percent of generation — with the government planning to add about 70,000 MW over the next 4 years.

Wind now provides more power than other renewable energies such as solar energy. Renewable energy sources are attracting investments in a shift from fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases linked to rising temperatures, more droughts, floods and rising seas.