Gujarat’s wind energy capacity grows 500% in six years

In what can be called as a quantum leap for Gujarat’s renewable energy sector, the wind power generation capacities have seen a sharp increase since 2006 from 338 Megawatt (MW) to 2175.5 MW in 2011. The share of Gujarat in the country’s total wind turbines generation capacities has jumped from mere 6.32 per cent in 2006 to a respectable 15.36 per cent in 2011.

While Gujarat has shown a growth of over 545 per cent in wind power capacities in past six years, the country’s wind farm capacities have grown by 165 per cent from 5341 MW in 2006 to 14,158 MW by March 2011.

"Gujarat has enormous potential for wind power generation. The average velocity of wind in the state is just less than seven meters per second, which is very much suitable for wind power generation. Besides this, the state has the longest coast-line in the country and a desert in Kutch. This makes land availability for the wind power projects," said Anil Kane, president, World Wind Energy Association (WWEA).

According to industry experts, wind velocity in the range of 6-7 meters per second is best suitable for the wind power generation. Winds blowing from Arabian sea and winds in desert area of Kutch are believed to be favouring wind energy sector.

Though the cost of generation is high for wind power projects, more and more players are setting up wind power generation units. "The initial investment is high at around Rs 6 crore per MW but the environmental benefits accrued to the wind power generation are also high," said Kane adding that technological innovations would improve the wind power generation in the country.

Against the solar power, which requires very high initial investments, wind power is seen as most preferred green energy source in India. "Wind power constitutes about 70 per cent of India’s total renewable energy generation. States like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu are most promising to develop wind power units, especially due to their geographical locations," said K S Popli, director, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA).

"Financing is also not a major concern now for the wind power projects. Although the returns from the wind power generation could be slightly lower compared to other conventional projects. Wind power gives stable energy compare to solar. We expect that this growth will continue for the wind power sector," Popli added.

The data provided by the Indian Wind Energy Association (IWEA) showed that Gujarat has shown impressive growth in the wind power generation capacities. Some of the leading states in wind power generation in India include Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

While Tamil Nadu held more than half of wind power generation capacities in India in 2006 with 54 per cent share, the share of Maharashtra stood at around 18.74 per cent. But now their share has been on a decline as Tamil Nadu holds about 41.7 per cent share and Maharashtra has about 16.32 per cent share to the country’s total wind power generation capacities.

Meanwhile, a study by the Chennai-based research organisation, Center for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET) showed that India’s gross potential for wind power generation stood at 48,561 MW. Gujarat is believed to have a potential of 10,645 MW, of which 2175.6 MW of generation capacities have already been set up in the state.