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India’s Wind Power Industry on the Global Radar Screen

By Piyush Dewangan and Sharada Prahladrao Recent announcements in the wind energy sector corroborate the fact that India’s wind energy sector is growing at a galloping rate. India’s demand for power is continuously increasing and depending on the country’s conventional power plants alone cannot meet this demand. Several other factors, such as environmental issues, availability of conventional fossil fuel, lack of project management abilities and a long gestation period to set up a conventional power plant, and such others impose constraints on augmenting the capacity. These factors are compelling the industry to look at the options of generating power from renewable energy sources. The contribution of renewable energy will be significant in the future. Apart from satisfying growing demand for power, the investment in renewable technologies, such as wind, solar, and others will also help to improve global climate, reduce pollution, economic development, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and such others.

Industries are witnessing numerous announcements in India’s wind power sector related to setting up new generating capacity, new wind turbines, turbine blades, towers, new wind power systems, and such others. Several global companies are eyeing India’s rapidly growing wind energy sector.

Recently, Caparo Energy announced its plans to set up 5,000 MW of wind generation capacity by 2017. India’s largest wind power company, Suzlon, will set up the generation unit of the company on a turnkey basis. With the addition of several other wind power generation capacities the country is expected to double its capacity by year 2020, from the current installed capacity of over 13,200 MW. According to the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), India’s wind power development potential is over 48,000 MW. ARC believes that the technological advancement and deployment of latest technologies could significantly increase the potential for wind power generation.

Wind turbine manufacturing facilities are being established in India, and global companies are entering this market through joint ventures or setting up their Indian subsidiary with their own technology. Currently the country produces around 3,000 to 3,500 MW of wind turbines, which include the domestic and export markets. With the foray of foreign players and other new players into the market, the production capacity is expected to increase by around 5,000 MW by 2015.

Siemens plans to set up a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Vadodara, Gujarat. The plant is expected to start producing by 2013 and it will make 2.3 MW turbines. Suzlon also launched a new platform of wind turbines of 2.1 MW capacity with rotor diameter of 95m and 97m meant to tap moderate to low wind speeds. The turbines will have towers that are 90m and 100m high and will have a larger swept area, enabling greater energy capture.

In another announcement, a Kalyani Group company named Kenersys is setting up its wind turbine assembly plant in Baramati, Maharashtra. The company is expected to sell around 150 MW of turbines in 2011. The Indian subsidiary of Spain’s Gamesa called Gamesa Wind Turbines also announced its plans to set up facilities to make towers, nacelles and turbine blades. It has an assembling unit near Chennai where it makes 850 kW turbines. The company also has plans to launch 2 MW turbines in the next few years. Powergear has entered into a joint venture with Spain’s Gestamp Wind Steel for manufacturing wind towers in Chennai. The joint venture company calledGestamp Powergear Windsteel is targeting around 400 towers in the next three years. Gestamp Wind Steel would provide technology apart from investment, while Powergear would put in its manufacturing capabilities to the operations of the JV, he added. It would supply towers of 1.6 MW, 2.5 MW and 3MW for its customers.

In addition to such announcements, several innovative technologies and new approaches are emerging towards cost effective wind power generation. One such example is the launch of a wind power system “windset” by Satarem India. The system is very different from conventional three blade wind turbine systems. The windset system can be installed on high rise buildings, business malls, and small business centers. The product with lower noise levels can produce power by around 30 percent cheaper compared to the cost involved in traditional windmills and generators that uses diesel. The company is planning to invest $ 900 million in the Indian renewable energy sector over the next five years.

India’s wind energy sector is all set to expand multifold in the coming years. Apart from several investment activities in the country, an association called Indian Small Wind Association (InSWA)has also been formed by the country’s small wind turbine manufacturers. The association will represent small wind and wind-solar hybrid manufacturers, system integrators, equipment suppliers, service providers, component manufacturers, utilities, researchers, end-users and others involved in the small wind energy sector.

ARC is presently working on a research report for the electric power industry charting the landscape and future roadmap. The report will address the key challenges facing electric power companies and how leading companies

are addressing those challenges. The report “Automation and Asset Management Expenditure to Electric Power Industry India Outlook” is targeted towards suppliers interested in India’s electric power industry. The report is also very useful for electric power companies to assess appropriate automation solutions and to select the right suppliers suitable for their organization.

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