Wind power installations in India rose to 2.07 GW in the financial year (FY) 2019-20, a 31% increase as compared to 1.58 GW in the FY 2018-19. The cumulative installations stood at 37.69 GW as compared to 35.63 GW for the FY 2018-19. Wind power represents 10.1% of the total installed power capacity in India as of Q1 2020.
During Q1 of the calendar year (CY) 2019, 488 MW of wind was added, which grew by 52% to 743 MW for Q2 2019. The third quarter saw a decline of 24% with installations of 562 MW. Then, the last quarter of CY 2019 saw an increase of 2.3% to 575 MW. Q1 of CY 2020 saw a steep decline of 67.2%, with merely 189 MW of installations in the country.
While the cumulative installations are about to touch the 38 GW mark, the yearly installations have been inconsistent so far.
Tamil Nadu emerged as the leading wind installer accounting for nearly 25% of the cumulative wind installations as of March 31, 2020. Gujarat emerged as the second leading state accounting for 20% of the total wind installations in the country.
Maharashtra and Karnataka came third and fourth with 13% each, while Rajasthan rounded off the top five with 11% of the total cumulative installations.
Good wind potential exists in the states of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra. In January, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) citing the studies conducted by the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) had told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy that India has an offshore wind energy potential of around 70 GW in parts along the coast of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
According to NIWE, the installable wind potential of the country is estimated to be at 695 GW at 120 meters above ground level. Out of the estimated figure, nearly 347 GW of wind projects can be installed on cultivable lands, followed by wastelands where 340 GW capacity could be possible.
Wind installations levels have significantly declined after the reverse auction mechanism was introduced in the wind sector after several years of growth. Before the auctions were introduced, wind projects were mostly developed by private companies for captive consumption or sale to the state. But all of this changed in 2017 when the reverse auction was introduced. The growth after the introduction of auctions has been underwhelming as low bids, and tariff caps have reduced participation of bidders resulting in under subscription in many of the tenders.
The decline of 67.2% for Q1 of CY 2020 can also be attributed to some extent on the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, and the grave economic impact of the deadly virus can be fully gauged in the coming months.
Recently, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) released a new report which analyzes how COVID-19 is impacting the global wind industry, including India. According to the report, to comply with the lockdown in India, both local and international turbine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and components manufacturers have temporarily suspended their production activities in India.
However, O&M services continue to operate with a reduced workforce. India is the largest wind turbine production base after China in the Asia Pacific region, with annual wind turbine manufacturing capacity up to 10 GW.
In December last year, Mercom reported that India’s wind sector failed to gather speed in 2019. The wind energy sector, along with the rest of the renewable energy industry, has been facing multiple challenges on various fronts over the past few years, and 2019 was no different. The sector was grappling with the slowing economy, low tariffs, tariff caps, curtailment, infrastructure constraints, and a plethora of duties and tariffs.
Rakesh Ranjan is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Prior to joining Mercom, he worked in many roles as a business correspondent, assistant editor, senior content writer, and sub-editor with bcfocus.com, CIOReview/Silicon India, Verbinden Communication, and Bangalore Bias. Rakesh holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). More articles from Rakesh Ranjan.