Although a relative newcomer to the wind industry India has the fifth largest installed wind power capacity in the world. In 2009-10 India’s growth rate was highest among the other top four countries- USA, Germany, Spain and China. Tamil Nadu holds about 41.7 per cent share, Maharashtra has about 16.32 per cent share and Gujarat has 15.36 per cent share of the country’s total wind power generation capacities.
In fact Gujarat’s wind power capacity has increased by 500% in the past six years. Gujarat has enormous potential for wind power generation. The average velocity of wind in the state is just less than seven meters per second, which is very much suitable for wind power generation. Besides this, the state has the longest coast-line in the country and a desert in Kutch. This makes land easily available for the wind power projects. Winds blowing from Arabian sea and winds in desert area of Kutch are believed to be favouring the wind energy sector.
The Muppandal wind farm in Tamil Nadu is the largest wind energy park in Asia. The suitability of Muppandal as a site for wind farms stems from its geographical location as it has access to the seasonal monsoon winds. Huge power-producing windmills tower over the palm trees. The village has attracted wind energy producing companies creating thousands of new jobs, dramatically raising the incomes of villagers.
In Maharashtra, Suzlon, an Indian-owned company has been heavily involved. Suzlon operates what was once Asia’s largest wind farm, the Vankusawade Wind Park, near the Koyna reservoir in Satara district.
Though the cost of generation is high for wind power projects, more and more players are setting up wind power generation units. The initial investment is high at around Rs 6 crore per MW but the environmental benefits accrued by the wind power generation are also high. Against solar power, which requires very high initial investments, wind power is seen as most preferred green energy source in India. Wind power constitutes about 70 per cent of India’s total renewable energy generation. Although the returns from the wind power generation could be slightly lower compared to other conventional projects, wind power gives stable energy compared to solar. Thus, growth for the wind power sector is expected to continue.
India’s wind power potential has been assessed at 45 000 MW. If this is fully exploited, India could rank among world’s top countries in energy production from wind. Presently the installed capacity of wind power in India is 13065.37 MW. Thus to fully utilize this alternative energy source, Government provides various incentives to companies willing to set up wind farms.
Though the present status of wind energy in India is highly commendable, lot more remains to be done in the field of clean energy. India really has miles to go, before it can fully overcome the pressure exerted on the power sector by its 1.2 billion people.