India added record numbers of 5,400 megawatts (MW) wind power in 2016-17. The government set the target at 4,000MW which has been exceeded very smoothly.
The ministry of new renewable energy mentioned in a statement that this year’s achievement surpassed the previous higher capacity addition of 3,423MW achieved in the previous year. 50,018MW renewable power sources have been installed across the country among which comes over 55% is only the wind power.
India is the biggest greenhouse gas emitter after the US and China. Now the renewable energy currently accounts for about 16% of the total installed capacity of 315,426MW. During 2016-17, the leading states in the wind power capacity addition were Andhra Pradesh at 2,190MW, followed by Gujarat at 1,275MW and Karnataka at 882MW.
In addition, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Kerala reported 357MW, 288MW, 262MW; 118MW, 23MW and 8MW wind power capacity addition respectively during the same period.
India promised to achieve 175GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 at the Paris Climate Summit in December. This includes 100GW from solar power, 60GW from wind power, and 10GW from biomass and 5GW from small hydro projects.
India also promised to achieve 40% of its electricity generation capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 which is being achieved step by step every year.
However, in the last couple of years, India has not only seen record low tariffs for solar power but wind power also dropped significantly in tariffs. In February, solar power tariffs hit a record low of Rs2.97 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and wind power tariff reached Rs3.46 kWh.
Even though the wind leads the list of India’s renewable power sector, still it has a huge growth potential. According to government estimates, the onshore wind power potential alone is about 302GW. But there are few problems in the sector.
For this time being, the government is concern about sorting out the basic problems such as marking good wind potential sites, the reason for delaying in the signing of power purchase agreements, payments on time, and distribution of electricity generated from wind energy projects. In January, the ministry held a meeting with the states to sort out these issues.
The ministry has also taken several steps, including introducing bidding in the wind energy sector and drafting a wind-solar hybrid policy.
It has also come out with a ‘National Offshore Wind Energy Policy’, aiming to harness wind power along India’s 7,600 km coastline. Preliminary estimates show the Gujarat coastline has the potential to generate around 106,000MW of offshore wind energy and Tamil Nadu about 60,000MW.