India is fast developing through utilization of its resources by applying modern science and technology. In this process, the electricity demand in the country is expected to rise by 7.4% annually for the next two and half decades. In view of limited supply of fossil fuels and their harmful effect on environment, it has been necessary to harness energy from various clean renewable sources including the wind power. The wind energy programme started in a systematic way in India by the end of 6th Five Year Plan (1983-1984) and during these years an appreciable amount of wind energy are being harnessed for different purposes though it is much behind many other countries in this regard. The main objective of the programme should be to commercialize wind energy production, support research and development, provide more help to wind energy projects and to create awareness among the people. The total installed wind power capacity in India had reached 17.9 GW in August 2012. The total capacity added during the financial year 2012-2013 was around 1,700 MW. Presently, India has an installed total power generation capacity of a little over 207.8 GW, of which renewables account for about 25 GW and wind is the major one of this installed capacity. In the recently released National Electricity Plan (2012), the Central Electricity Authority has projected the need for 350-360 GW of total generation capacity by 2022.
India has got long coastal line over 7500 Km with good potentiality of wind energy, but harnessing the wind resource has come up mostly in some parts of Gujarat and Tamilnadu. It is reported that, 119.5 billion units (BU) of electricity have been added to the total electricity supply from wind energy. In this process, the country has saved 89.72 million tonnes (MT) of coal and decreased the CO2 emission by 118.29 MT. This indicates the environmental and economic validity of wind power in India. Therefore, it is essential to harness wind energy in various possible ways both offshore and onshore areas of the country. The installed wind capacity of major states of India is given in as per the Indian wind atlas of 2010 prepared by the Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET) and the potential has been calculated based on availability of 2% of total land for setting up wind energy turbines at a 50 meters height level. The major installed wind capacity of India is 28083 MW.
If the wind energy potential at a height of 50M is harnessed fully then it can provide only 8% of the electricity demand of the country in the year 2022 and 5% in 2032. However, at 80 metres height the projected wind potential for the same area of land used (2%) will be in the order of 1,02,788 MW whereas at 50m height, it is 49,130 MW.
There is a great scope on this planet to harness wind energy at different places and at different heights and it is also possible to locate wind power projects in areas away from the human habitation, forests, precious land space etc. Wind energy being a clean one it has got a lot of benefits in minimizing the release of green house gases and mitigating global warming. By using modern technology it is possible to harness wind energy with a competitive price with that generated from fossil fuel. The modern wind turbine has many advantages and it is modular and easy to install according to electricity supply and demand. Further, harnessing wind power, the system is less capital intensive and simple in construction and easy to maintain and operate. At present, with advance technologies by using longer and stronger turbine blades made from advance materials and design, it has been possible for the turbine to produce power much more efficiently.
– The author is former Director General, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, India.