India adds record wind power capacity in past year

The record performance takes the country’s total installed capacity of renewable energy to 16.8 GW, far outstripping the performance of many industrialised nations including the UK, France, Japan and Canada.

According to the new figures, 1.57 GW of wind power were added during the year compared to 790 MW the previous year, although the rate of expansion dropped slightly compared to 2007-2008 when 1.66 GW of new wind energy capacity was added.

But the country has still installed more capacity than leading wind energy markets Germany and Spain over the past two years and now boasts over 11G W of wind farm capacity, making India the fifth largest wind energy generator in the world.

The highest growth was shown by the biomass-agriwaste and small hydro sector, which nearly tripled their contribution from 250MW in 2008-2009 to 750MW a year later.

Only eight megawatts of solar energy capacity was installed, although the government has announced that it wants to add one gigawatt of new solar capacity by 2013, and 20 GW by 2020 as part of its high profile Solar Mission project.

The spike in installed renewables this year gives India a boost towards reaching its target of having 25 GW of installed renewables by March 2012, representing over 10 per cent of the 220 GW of installed power nationwide.

But critics say the nation will struggle to meet the target, which would require it to install 3.6 GW a year for the next two years – a third higher than the amount it installed this year.

Last week, local reports suggested the Indian government is working on plans for a new renewable energy certificate (REC) scheme designed to drive investment in low carbon energy projects.

The RECs, which are based on a model pioneered in the US, could be bought by companies and government bodies to count towards renewable energy targets.

The scheme would provide renewable energy developers with anadditional revenue stream while giving companies the ability to bolster their green credentials by demonstrating that they have purchased renewable energy.

The country also launched its first feed-in tariff scheme for renewable energy last year as part of further efforts to drive investment in low carbon projects.

Source: BusinessGreen,