1.6 per cent

Published: Friday 15 August 2008

1.6 per cent

Down to Earth On the face of it, the Indian wind energy sector is booming. Installed wind power capacity has increased six-fold in the last seven years--from 1,338 mw in 2000-01 to 8,754 mw in 2007-08 (see table Happy drift).In the last three years alone, about 5,150 mw has been added. As on March 31 this year, wind power accounted for 6.1 per cent of the total installed capacity to generate power in India.

The biggest challenge for the wind-power industry in India is to come to terms with the need to generate more power and to accurately account for it (see table Short shrift?).Down to Earth mnre collates data on the installed wind energy capacity, but most experts believe its data on wind power generation is questionable. The Central Electricity Authority does not collect data on wind power generation either.From the data mnre provides, adding capacity has not converted to actual power generation.

The average plant load factor, getting better, is still around 15 per cent (see table Could be much better). As a result, even as wind power generation has increased from 1,577 million units (mu) in 2000-2001 to 11,413 mu in 2007-2008, it accounts for a meagre 1.6 per cent of all power generated.

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Moreover, industry is worried about stagnation in installation. Write Mahesh Vipradas and Niraj Kumar of the Indian Wind Energy Association, in their recent assessment of the sector "The annual installation in 2007-08 is the lowest in the last three years, making us ask is this the beginning of the end of the Indian wind success story?" They believe policy measures enacted in the past have had their run of success. Now, more steps are needed to re-energise the sector.

What is needed? How will it come about?

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