theindialog

December 24, 2009

Wind Farming

Filed under: Tamil Nadu — loggers @ 8:08 pm

In an earlier post, we had mentioned the power shortage that some states face, and the need to switch to alternative forms of energy. Tamil Nadu has been one of the pioneering states in the use of wind energy and this form currently constitutes ~10% of power generated. While in Kanyakumari, we could feel the intensity of wind blowing from all directions: both the south-westerly and north-easterly winds (at different times of the year) hit the region unabated. It only made sense that the country’s largest wind farms should be located here.

Windmill

Starting from a distance of 15km north of Kanyakumari lies probably the largest density of windmills anywhere in India. Manufacturers, shapes and sizes vary from one windmill to another, but the objective is common – to harness the wind speeds and convert it into energy. European manufacturers such as Vestas and Gamesa along with the Indian supplier Suzlon have a sizeable presence here, providing 750kw, 1.25MW and 1.65MW capacities. Subsidies by the Tamil Nadu government provided a little over a decade ago saw a spurt in growth due to the financial incentives given at that time, which included capital subsidies, income tax exemptions etc.

A view of the wind farm

Wind power constitutes the largest component of renewable energy capacity (70%) in India. The installed capacity is currently a fraction of the cumulative energy demands of the country (~6%[1]) and the potential remains substantial. The MNRE recently announced incentives for wind power generation and sale-back to the grid, on a national scale. Other states need to follow Tamil Nadu’s lead, in conducting research studies on the potential for wind power generation and providing incentives to promote the growth of this industry.

Inside a windmill


[1] Utilization is even lower, at 1.6%

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