The Future of Wind Energy in India

  • Access to economical energy is a crucial factor to sustain the accelerated growth of all sectors in India.
  • While having to further its greener and cheaper energy production, India has to invest in a portfolio of renewable energy options.
  • Wind energy in India is a fast developing segment confronting an encouraging future provided some crucial challenges to its growth are ably addressed.

India’s energy consumption in the household, agricultural, commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors are growing at a fast pace. The country faces an unforeseen demand to increase its energy production to meet the overwhelming rate of consumption. At the same time, India’s commitment to bettering the environment calls for investing in cleaner energy production by exploring, researching, and developing all the possible and viable renewable energy generation options. Along with solar energy, wind energy in India can play a vital role in supplying cleaner energy and also supplementing the increasing demand at a cheaper price.

The popularity of wind power generation

Photo by Jeff Sloot

Due to its cheaper cost than solar energy, wind energy is becoming a popular option globally especially in scenarios where energy occurs as a major expense. In several countries wind energy is operating at present giving out highly encouraging results. In India, wind power deployment started as early as the 1990s. Over the last few years, this segment has witnessed phenomenal growth. India is now vigorously working out to achieve the set target of 60 GW of wind power generation capacity by 2022. India is relatively a newcomer to the wind energy segment when compared to the US or Denmark. Nevertheless, the wind power sector has received considerable domestic policy support and India is today the fourth-largest producer of wind power in the world today. While the country achieved an installed capacity of 57 GW renewable energy in March 2017, wind power made up 56% of this figure.

The growth of wind power installed capacity across the globe

The Global Data’s Wind Power Market Update 2018 says that the magnitude of the global wind power market grew in 2017 from $21.4 billion (2016) to $94.5 billion. Globally, the cumulative generation capacity of wind power increased in 2017 from 74.6 GW (2006) to 547.3 GW and the CAGR was 19.9%. In 2017 alone, there was an addition of 52.3 GW. The industry forecasts say in the 2018–2025 period, the global wind power market size can expand 98.9 billion. Such a phenomenal development was possible due to favorable government policies and a sharp increase in capacity. The lead is provided by countries including India, China, Germany, and the US. In the US, wind power is more popular than solar. In the year 2017, wind energy accounted for about 21% out of the total renewable energy produced in the US while only 7% was contributed by solar power. When it comes to heavy consumption in the utility and large-scale operators market, the preference is the wind energy while homeowners opt for solar energy.

The wind energy segment in India

India is taking the right steps in investing in the production of wind energy. Observing the remarkable growth in the wind power generation infrastructure in the nation, we can say the country is far ahead of overtaking the revised target of achieving an installed capacity of 67GW by the year 2022. Even on the competitive bidding system, the wind is seen to ride stronger. Since wind energy is more reliable and affordable and since win energy is the mainstream source of energy, there is an increased demand for wind energy, which is one of the foremost among the renewable or green energy options. In India, the wind energy segment is fast gaining momentum.

The ministry of new and renewable energy is now bidding progressively in this segment. In some Indian states, there are efforts to identify the pockets of lands that are not conducive to agriculture and related activities. Instead of being acquired completely, such lands are being taken in an annual payment agreement between the government and the farmers for the purpose of installing wind energy generation infrastructure. Other initiatives like wind-solar hybrid installations where both windmills and solar panels are installed on the same piece of land are also proving to be profitable. Over the past four years, India has invested about $42 billion in the wind energy segment. A study by the power ministry has revealed that India has to build not less than 275 GW of renewable energy production capacity by 2027.

The policy backed initiatives

The country’s policy to decarbonize its electricity supply is further boosted by some sophisticated technologies, cost-saving measures, and a surging interest among the renewable energy producers, investors, and utilities across the globe. Wind energy comes as a sustainable solution provider to meet the fast-growing energy requirement of the country besides helping the nation combat climate change issues. The developments in the wind energy production capacity will also mean reducing the country’s dependence on the highly expensive fossil fuels that are imported from other countries. The advancements in the renewable energy segment can also bring in new jobs and also give a thrust to the government’s Make in India program.

The future of wind energy in India

Given the current developments in the wind energy sector, we can see that the country can add 30 GW of installed capacity over the next three years. Thus the cumulative wind energy generation capacity can easily touch 64 GW. If the technology is further developed, the wind energy generation turbines in some states can deliver about 35% to 40% more load factor, which is about two times the PLF estimated with regard to solar.

The technology is fast developing in the wind sector. It is now possible to harness the wind energy in some pockets that were earlier vulnerable. The present state of things, India is sure to double its wind energy generation capacity. In the wind energy segment of renewable energy production, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are presently leading the way while other states are fast picking up.

In addition, some government initiatives like exempting the interstate transmission charges for solar and wind power projects up to March 31, 2022, has given an impetus to augment the capacity of the renewables significantly in the near future. The market demand for wind energy is seen growing in the global market pointing out to a healthy and encouraging rend in the wind energy segment. Given this scenario, India is poised to become the leader in wind energy production in the world very soon with wind energy highly contributing to India’s energy security.

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