Though wind power spearheaded India’s renewable energy growth until 2015, it has begun to lose its sheen, particularly its share in capacity additions.
To address the land-related hassles in wind power projects, the Union ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) is planning a wind energy park development scheme. As part of the same, states will prepare the necessary infrastructure for wind power project developers under the plug- and-play model. MNRE will provide financial assistance of Rs 20 lakh per megawatt (MW) to park developers for preparing the sites — involving land, transmission connectivity and other necessary approvals — required for wind plant installations. The park developers will be designated by states.
MNRE proposed the scheme in a recently released concept note. Though auctions for solar and wind parks have traditionally been done by the central government agencies, MNRE noted that a number of such projects have been delayed due to hurdles over land availability, NoCs and transmission-related issues. MNRE has already identified potential wind park zones across Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, with a potential of about 54,000 MW (54 GW) of new wind plants under the scheme.
Wind plant now comprise about 43% of the total installed renewable energy capacity of 89 GW. Annual wind capacity addition has slowed down from 3.4 GW in FY16 to 2.1 GW in FY20. The total installed power generation capacity of the country is 373 GW, of which 62% are thermal power plants.
Wind power projects require scattered land, which increases power transmission costs as well as the possibility of land- related hurdles. Shifting the onus to states is considered as a means to smoothen the process. The policy also allows states to build wind-solar hybrid parks in the earmarked areas, if they choose to do so.
Though wind power spearheaded India’s renewable energy growth until 2015, it has begun to lose its sheen, particularly its share in capacity additions. “In recent years, the sector has been plagued by weakening monsoons, land availability issues, financial weaknesses of discoms, with ensuing payment delays, and an increase in market risks,” a recent report by the Climate Policy Initiative said.