Wind farms are playing an increasingly important role in meeting India's energy demands, sustainably. However, significant challenges still remain. With steep targets for wind generation looming, the pressure is on the government to keep investor sentiment up and the project pipeline running.
India has consolidated its position as the world's fourth largest wind power generator as its installed capacity has grown from 23 GW in 2014 to 38 GW in 2020. Generation has grown from 27 TWh to 65 TWh over the same period with a pickup in efficiency and utilisation. The country has the potential to ramp up onshore wind installations at a height of 100 meters, to 300 GW and offshore, to 175 GW, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). With an ambitious target of 450 GW of total renewable capacity by 2030, it is likely to hasten its wind farm buildout to add 100 GW over the coming decade to reach its climate goals. As PM Modi heads to Kutch, Gujarat next week to lay the foundation stone of a 30 GW renewable energy park, investors will look on keenly.
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Land acquisition issues have stymied growth over the last two year and the government has had to become innovative to circumvent bureaucratic red tape. The Ministry of Defence allocated nearly 73,000 hectares of land which had been lying unused near the border with Pakistan, for the development of a park which should get completed between 2023-2025. With steep targets for wind generation looming, the pressure is on the government to keep investor sentiment up and the project pipeline running.
The highest average wind speeds are witnessed on the western and southern flanks of the country, and the states with the greatest potential for generation happen to be the most industrialized - Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Lowering pollution in these states and creating a power surplus for exports to neighbouring states are just two of the many objectives.
Offshore wind potential in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu is also attractive and combined, it sits at around 70 GW. This year, a 1 GW pilot project has been approved and is slated to be built by the National Institute of Wind Energy. While price competitiveness with a rapidly evolving suite of onshore alternatives remains a concern, it gets around some of the major land acquisition issues that plague projects.