Harnessing the wind power

India, a leading advocate for carbon mitigation, has also increased its focus on leveraging its vast land for wind energy generation to achieve its ambitious renewable energy targets. Thanks to persistent efforts by the stakeholders, India’s wind energy capacity has seen impressive growth, reaching 46.16 GW in April 2024, up from just 1.2 GW in 2000. This rapid increase is expected to continue, aligning with the country’s goal of generating 500 GW of renewable energy by 2030, with 140 GW from wind. This momentum highlights India’s commitment to sustainable energy and its pivotal role in global climate action.

India’s diverse topography includes numerous high-altitude regions with strong, consistent winds, with several of these locations witnessing large scale wind project development. India has also an extensive coastline of over 7,500 kilometer which provides opportunities for offshore wind farms. The Indian subcontinent’s monsoon winds further enhance the consistency and reliability of wind energy throughout the year, making it a dependable source of renewable energy. These favourable conditions have encouraged the government and the industry to accelerate their actions to propel wind energy generation.

The establishment of advanced manufacturing facilities for wind turbines and components has reduced dependency on imports, lowering costs and boosting local industries. Technological advancements, such as improved turbine designs and better grid integration, have enhanced the efficiency and reliability of wind power generation. Additionally, the expansion of transmission networks ensures that energy produced in wind-rich areas can be efficiently distributed across the country.

The Indian government has also been proactive in promoting wind energy through a range of policies and incentives. In early years, the government announced several policy measures to push the growth of the sector such as accelerated depreciation and feed-in-tariffs. The 2018 National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy aims to promote large grid-connected hybrid systems for efficient resource utilization. Additionally, the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy focuses on developing offshore wind energy in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The government continues to encourage the growth of the sector by through several measures, such as auctioning 50 GW of renewable projects annually, with 10 GW dedicated to standalone wind projects. The auction of standalone wind projects has increased since FY 2023 to 5 GW, compared to 3 GW in FY 2021 and 2022. The auction of hybrid and storage-linked projects has also witnessed a jump. Reaching nearly 18 GW in fiscal years 2023 and 2024, up from 4 GW in fiscal years 2021 and 2022. Moreover, India’s large pool of skilled professionals and researchers has pushed the growth of the sector.

Bottlenecks and Solutions

Indeed, the Indian wind sector has made significant progress. However, India needs to address challenges that hinder the growth of the sector and impede wind energy generation. For instance, the sector faces a daunting challenge in land acquisition, resulting in time delays and a rise in cost of a project. To expedite the development lifecycle, simplifying the acquisition process, providing deemed clearance for change in land-use, and regulating equitable compensation for landowners are essential steps. These measures can reduce delays and facilitate smoother project implementation.

Moreover, developers often face approval issues when commissioning wind projects. Providing adequate flexibility in weather-related parameters for commissioning can help overcome these hurdles, ensuring projects are completed on time. This approach will not only safeguard investments but also align with national renewable energy goals, ensuring a steady increase in wind energy capacity.

Introducing Wind Power Parks, similar to the solar parks promoted by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), can also drive large-scale wind energy development. By aggregating requirements and awarding projects on state-sponsored revenue land, the MNRE can create a conducive environment for extensive wind power generation, encouraging investment and boosting capacity.

India, which strives to accomplish aspirational developmental and environmental targets, such as net zero by 2070, must fully harness its wind capacity across states to swiftly achieve its renewable energy goals while adding to its energy reservoir. The transition to clean energy is crucial for meeting these goals without hindering industrial development. This World Wind Day offers a perfect opportunity to draft a framework for the future. By doing so, India can advance towards clean energy, decarbonization, and a sustainable green future.