In the last two years, India’s wind energy usage has dropped from 3000 MW to 1500 MW, despite having one of the world’s most established and mature wind sectors. Even the Central government’s ambitious 60 GW target announcement hasn’t generated much enthusiasm amongst wind sector stakeholders. Industry representatives blame India’s uncertain government policies as one of the key reasons for their apprehension.
‘Even though the cost of wind power per mega watt is the cheapest in India, we think twice about setting up shop in India because of the lack of assurance in policies and incentives, and the ill health of state power utilities. We would like to receive our money on time’, said Mr. Glen Reccani, Managing Director, Acciona Energy – India.
Today, India has manufacturing capabilities to the tune of 10,000MW per annum, but less than half of this capacity is being utilised. States with surplus wind energy generation have had to keep their mills shut due to lack of scheduling of power. The need of the hour, established at the Fourth Wind Discussion Forum, held in Bangalore recently, include the setting up of Renewable Energy Management Centres for streamlining forecasting and scheduling of wind power and the need for stability and convergence in government policies.
‘The problems of scheduling and forecasting are not unique to the wind sector, even for successful solar projects, the government will have to think about institutionalising these activities’, said Mr. V. Subramanian, former secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in his keynote address at the forum.
With all the excitement in India’s renewable energy sector about solar energy, the wind sector has become the neglected wife. Both, the government and the private sector are asking for solutions to long standing problems of intermittency land allotment, grid integration, absence of power markets, uncertainty in incentives provided by the government, poor health of utilities, lack of access to finance at reasonable rates and divergence between state and central government policies.
‘Karnataka has 2500 MW of installed capacity, but produces only 103 MW of power from wind. We want to understand if and how the state’s entire capacity can be generated and what alternate sources can be used to fill in the gaps?’ enquired Mr. P. Ravikumar, Additional Chief Secretary (Energy), Government of Karnataka.
Idam Infrastructure Advisory, Center for Study of Science Technology and Policy (CSTEP) and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation organized the 4th Wind Discussion Forum to bring together representatives from the wind industry, power dispatch centers and the government to discuss key challenges faced by the wind sector.