New permits required for Indian developers

INDIA: Developers looking to build projects in India’s largest wind state of Tamil Nadu will need to obtain permission from local village governments as a result of a new court ruling.

The High Court of India has ruled that windmills come within the definition of ‘factory’ in the state’s village government law and project developers must obtain permission from ‘panchayats’, local village governments, before installing turbines.

Until now, project developers were only required to seek permission from the owner of the land on which a windmill was to be installed. Often developers set up projects on self-owned lands.

Project developers and industry group Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers’ Association say the decision will be a big blow to investment in Tamil Nadu, which has plans to install 10,000 MW of capacity in the next five years.

Justice V. Ramasubramanian of the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court of Tamil Nadu, heard a writ petition on November 17 filed by an agricultural landowner from Kaluneerkulam village.

It accused a Mumbai-based company of installing a windmill close to his land and without panchayat approval. His counsel claimed both acts were illegal under the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act of 1994.