Wind energy to help meet green target in India

India is banking on its wind power potential to meet the renewable energy target set under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) for the 12th Five-Year Plan (April 2012- March 2017).

NAPCC aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the overall grid power from 5% in 2009-10 to 15% by 2020, increasing it by 1% each year. But several states have lagged behind the target due to shortage of renewable power.

Sources said India is now estimated to have the potential to generate more than 1 lakh MW from wind power, up from the earlier estimate of 49,000 MW. "Our potential to generate electricity could be more than 1 lakh MW, as per the initial findings of a study being undertaken by the Chennai-based Centre for Wind Energy Technology (CWET) to reassess India’s wind power potential," said ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) joint secretary Tarun Kapoor.

The MNRE had earlier envisaged wind-based capacity addition of 15,000 MW for the current Plan. But it is likely to go up in the light of the new findings.

CWET’s optimism is also shared by Crisil Risk and Infrastructure Solutions, an independent consultancy, which has estimated wind-farm based feasible capacity addition for the Plan at 23,000 MW as against 15,000 MW envisaged by the ministry.

However, Climate Parliament, a forum of parliamentarians to lobby for green energy, says that reassessing potential is not enough and that the government needs to ensure that potential is finally realised. "It is important to realise that merely having new and fresh wind potential is not enough. The actual realisation of this potential depends on the kind of policies, incentives, economics, governance, access to adequate land, roads and electricity network and the grid’s ability to absorb intermittent wind power generation," Climate Parliament’s South Asia regional director Mukul Sharma told FE.

Regulators are also expected to set renewable purchase obligations for discoms based on the projected availability of renewable power.

Meanwhile, preliminary findings of a study being undertaken by the Forum of Regulators suggest that complying with renewable power purchase obligation would not have any significant incremental impact on the power purchase costs of discoms. "It is because the cost of renewable power is coming down while price of fossil-fuel generated electricity is rising," CERC chairman and FoR chairperson Pramod Deo told FE.