Powering India-4: Alternative energy- Wind

India is now the world’s fourth-largest generator of wind energy with an installed capacity of 7,093 MW. In October 2005, India surpassed Denmark to rank fourth in installed wind power capacity after Germany, Spain, and US. In 2006, India installed 1,840 MW of additional capacity. It is also way ahead of China, which will add 5,000 MW only by 2010. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy pegs India’s potential for harnessing wind energy at 45,000 MW. It targets an addition of close to 2,000 MW per year for the next four to five years.

Tulsi Tanti has become an icon. Today Tulsi Tanti’s Suzlon Energy is the world’s fourth-largest wind turbine maker. With its overseas acquisitions- Hansen and recently Repower, Pune-based Suzlon is growing at a combined annual growth rate (CAGR) of 103% with revenues of Rs 2,500 crore. The Rs 1,530 crore Suzlon Energy, the India’s largest has a 52 per cent market share in the country. Suzlon is sitting on an Rs 13,500 crore order – out of which Rs 1,710 crore is from India alone. The company aims to scale up its equipment output capacity from 2,700 MW to 4,200 MW by 2008. The $4.2 billion (Rs 16,800 crore) Danish major Vestas and Enercon from Germany together make up another 30 per cent.

Many other companies are trying to get into the green energy movement to save mother earth.

US’s GE Energy Financial Services is looking to break into the Indian market. The company’s goal is a $3-billion (Rs 12,000-crore) renewable energy portfolio by 2008 in partnership with experienced Indian wind farm developers. Smaller players such as Pioneer Wincon Systems are also scaling up. New entrants such as Southern Wind Farms and Shriram EPC from Chennai are also putting up manufacturing facilities.

Sterling Infotech has acquired Finnish turbine maker WinWind Oy.

Anil Ambani’s Reliance Capital has picked up stake in wind turbine maker NEPC for Rs 96 crore in 2006.

As reported recently, Nalco plans to enter wind power with Suzlon and will set up the windmills on the Panchpatmali Hills near Damanjodi, from where it currently mines bauxite. The location at a high altitude enhances the chances of getting better volume and velocity of wind. Nalco’s alumina refinery currently requires about 60 mw of power daily, which is being met through in-house generation using coal and waste heat. The proposed wind power project can meet the electricity requirement of the refinery in part or full.

CLP Holdings, Hong Kong’s biggest power utility, will build a $125 million wind farm in Gujarat with a capacity of 100.8 mw in association with Enercon (India).

Roaring 40s Renewable Energy Pty, CLP’s joint venture with Hydro Tasmania, already had signed an agreement with Enercon, a wind turbine manufacturer, to build another wind farm project in Khandke (Maharashtra). The 50.4 mw plant costing $80 million is scheduled to start operating in December.

Interestingly, the early movers such as Bajaj Auto, Ajanta Clocks, and Madras Cement are having wind power at a fixed cost of 50 paise per unit and will continue doing that till the life of the windmills. Can anything be cheaper?

Bajaj Auto’s wind power generation system, installed in 2000 with an investment of Rs 300 crore caters to around 90% of the energy needs of the three of its factories and saves around Rs 25 crore in power costs per year.

Many of India’s power-intensive and polluting industries like cement, textiles and oil refineries use windmills to save on power costs and to earn green points by generating carbon credits. Power majors such as National Thermal Power Corporation in Delhi and Tata Power in Mumbai are also setting up mega projects.

Wind Technology incorporating many innovations has advanced significantly and in some locations, wind becomes competitive without subsidies.

Today wind energy is competitive with coal and gas, and is cheaper than nuclear power. With land available in right locations, one can install and begin operations within three to six months.

Comparing to solar energy, wind power costs Rs 4-5 crore per MW to generate whereas the solar energy generation costs about Rs 30 crore per MW.

Windmills currently generate roughly 1 per cent of total global energy consumption.

Wind energy accounts for 20 per cent of the electricity in Denmark, 9 per cent in Spain and 7 per cent in Germany.

Wind Mills if suitably located can also attract a lot of tourists. India is moving on the right track to use the nature wherever t is possible for harnessing energy.

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