In a circular dated 1 August, the ministry said this requirement was no longer relevant given the advances in wind-energy technology and the efficiency of new and larger turbines. It said the decision has been taken after consultations with wind-energy experts.
Arvinder Singh, business development head in India for US-based consultancy AWS Truewind, told Windpower Monthly the company was "excited" about the change. He said the changes would enable producers to utilise more sites and produce extra power, given the constrained availability of land for wind-energy projects.
Singh explained that bigger and more efficient wind turbines were widely available in the market today. These can work at hub heights of nearly 100 metres, thus tapping lower wind densities at higher heights.
Suzlon has recently developed its S9X turbine range, which have hub height options of 80 metres, 90 metres and 100 metres.
The Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers’ Association has also welcomed the announcement. It said the guideline change would open the market for better technology and bigger machines, as well as for smaller producers with new technology.
The guidelines provide a boost to the wind-energy sector at a crucial time – from 1 April 2012 an accelerated depreciation benefit programme for wind-energy producers is set to end.
Accelerated depreciation is an accounting tool that encourages businesses to build new assets by deferring tax liabilities to the later years of the asset’s life.
India is among the leading wind-energy producers in the world, with an installed capacity of 14.5GW at the end of June 2011.