A senior state government official said that total wind power generation capacity in the state as of March 31, 2012, stood at 2,884 MW, the second highest in the country, after Tamil Nadu, which has capacity of close to 7,000 MW.
"Gujarat overtook Maharashtra in terms of wind power generation capacity in 2011-12. Gujarat’s wind power capacity rose to 2,884 MW, as compared with Maharashtra’s 2,711 MW," said the official.
With the sharp rise, wind energy now accounts for over 20% of the total electricity generation capacity in the state, which stands at 13,914 MW. According to officials, it plays an important role in meeting demand for power.
Officials say that in absence of a clear roadmap, wind power generation capacity in the state was only 272 MW as of March 31, 2006. However, there has been no looking back since then. The wind power generation capacity in the state has gone up by around 300 MW or more every year hence.
The year 2011-12 saw addition of 790 MW of wind power capacity in the state, by far the highest ever in any year. The previous highest capacity addition during a year was 616 MW in 2007-08.
This was also the time when state government amended the Wind Power Policy, and raised power tariff from Rs3.37 per unit to Rs3.50 per unit, which was subsequently revised to Rs3.56 per unit.
However, in spite of the rapid steps taken to tap wind energy, the state is still a long way off the huge potential it offers. According to state government, wind power potential in the state is estimated at around 10,000 MW, most of it in the coastal areas of Saurashtra and Kutch.
"There is a lot of potential to generate clean and cheap energy by harnessing wind energy, and this is what we are focusing on," said DJ Pandian, principal secretary, energy & petrochemicals department.
Industry experts say that Rajasthan with 2,100 MW and Karnataka with 2,000 MW capacities are the other states which have tapped wind energy in a big way.