Wind could provide quarter of India’s power by 2030

“India is already an established force in the global wind energy markets and yet it has the potential to achieve so much more,” explains Steve Sawyer of the Global Wind Energy Council, which produced ‘Indian Wind Energy Outlook’ with the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association.

“Wind energy can be deployed at a very large scale in a very short period of time. With the right support, it can make a major difference in improving India's energy independence by providing it with vast amounts of clean, indigenous energy.”

India’s growing economy has forced the country to increase installed power capacity from 1.4 GW in 1947 to 150 GW this year. Coal is used for 79% of generation, followed by large hydro and natural gas, with renewable energy providing 13 GW. The International Energy Agency predicts that India will need 327 GW of capacity by 2020, which means adding 16 GW per year.

By 2005, India had developed into the world’s fourth largest market for wind and, last year, it brought online the third largest amount of wind energy, after the USA and China. It now ranks fifth in total installed wind capacity with 9645 MW of turbines installed.

“In our rapidly growing economy, the security of energy supply is key and wind energy potential must not be wasted,” says D V Giri of the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association. “Deploying wind energy at a large scale would help us to realise significant economic and environmental benefits. We now urge the government to fast track proposals to introduce a national renewable energy policy to help the industry to make this happen for India.”

The report considers three different scenarios: reference, moderate and advanced. It found that wind technology, re-powering, untapped off-shore potential and more wind resource assessment could play a key part in India’s efforts to provide energy while combatting climate change. “India’s tremendous wind energy resource has only been partially realised due to the lack of a coherent national renewable energy policy,” the report notes. “Currently, the promotion of renewable energy in India is mainly driven by state governments, but inconsistent implementation and the lack of a national policy is hampering genuine progress. While some states have set high renewable portfolio standards, other states only have low or no targets, and enforcement is insufficient. Furthermore, while in theory, RPS and feed-in-tariffs can coexist, this needs to be well managed to avoid inefficiencies.

“To boost investment in renewable energy, it is essential to introduce clear, stable and long-term support policies,” the report concludes. “A number of policy measures at national level, which could be applied concurrently, would significantly improve the framework for renewable energy in India. However, they must be carefully designed to ensure that they operate in harmony with existing state level mechanisms and do not lessen their effectiveness.”

Under the advanced energy scenario, “an even more rapid expansion of the global wind power market is envisaged” with an assumed annual growth rate of 25% in 2009, dropping to 5% by 2026. By the end of this decade, wind capacity would reach 15 GW, with annual additions of 3.8 GW. By 2020, installed wind capacity would be 135 GW 241 GW by 2030, at which time the annual market would stabilise at 10 GW.

In the reference scenario, the annual value of investment in wind power equipment in India falls from 96 billion Rs in 2008 to 43bn Rs in 2010 and to 31bn Rs bn by 2020, while, in the advanced scenario, annual value of investment reaches 199bn Rs in 2010 and 472bn Rs by 2020.

“The employment effect of this scenario is a crucial factor to weigh alongside its other costs and benefits,” it adds. “Any technology which demands a substantial level of both skilled and unskilled labour is of considerable economic importance, and likely to feature strongly in any political decision-making over different energy options.”

Assuming that each megawatt of new wind capacity creates employment of 15 jobs, the report predicts that 400,000 workers were employed in the global wind sector in 2008, with 28,400 in India. The advanced scenario would see wind employment rise to 57,700 by 2010, 177,000 by 2020 and 213,500 jobs by 2030.

The Indian Ministry of New & Renewable Energy estimates a potential of 90 GW for power generation from different renewable energy sources, including 48,561 MW from wind, 14,294 MW from small hydro and 26,367 MW from biomass. In addition, the potential for solar energy is estimated at 20 MW/km2, which could represent at least 657 GW of installed capacity.