Wind power in India: Report blames COVID-19 pandemic for slowest growth in decade

India added just 1.1 gigawatt of onshore wind projects in 2020

By Ishan Kukreti
Published: Wednesday 24 February 2021
India saw slowest growth in wind energy in 2020: Report

India added just 1.1 gigawatt of onshore wind power projects in 2020, the lowest in a decade, according to a new report by BloombergNEF, an international energy research organisation.

The report titled India’s Top Wind Suppliers in 2020 attributed the slow growth to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The pandemic resulted in nation-wide lockdowns in 2020 and caused severe disruptions to the supply chain and movement of goods and people, delaying project execution, the report noted.  

“The government granted developers a five-month extension to commission renewable energy projects that suffered construction delays due to the pandemic. Commissioning of about 2GW of wind power farms due to come online last year slipped into 2021,” the report said.

India's wind power capacity addition peaked in 2016-17, with about 5.5 GW of installations. Despite a target of 4 GW for 2017-18 and 2018-19 each, the installations were about 47 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively, of the target. The target for 2019-20 was reduced to 3 GW.

Four major independent power producers (IPPs) — Renew Power, Sembcorp Green Infra, Alfanar and Adani Green Energy — accounted for 70 per cent of the total installed capacity in 2020.

The IPPs commissioned projects with cumulative capacity of 883 megawatt in Gujarat, or 79 per cent of the wind energy capacity built in the country. Higher wind speeds and land availability have made Gujarat a favoured state for most IPPs.

The western state was followed by Tamil Nadu (128MW), Karnataka (82MW) and Rajasthan (26MW). Despite moderate to high wind speeds, no developers commissioned new projects in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh or Andhra Pradesh.

Foreign turbine makers supplied 76 per cent of all capacity commissioned last year, up 9 percentage points from 2019, the report said.

“While 2020 was the most challenging year for the Indian wind power sector in the past 15 years, the industry is quickly coming back on track. BloombergNEF expects 3.2 gigawatts of new wind power capacity to be added in 2021, three-times the capacity added in 2020,” said Shantanu Jaiswal, head of India research, BloombergNEF.

The Union government has recently been vocal about achieving its renewable energy targets of 175 gigawatt by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030.

Experts in the industry expected the recently-released Union Budget to cater to these targets. The Budget, however, did not say anything about the government’s plans and the financial assistance available for the same.

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