India has the potential to stay at the top

INDIA: At the time of Windpower Monthly's last special report on India, the industry was hoping for a central government stance that would provide incentives to encourage growth and a grid infrastructure that can cope.

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Almost 18 months on, and policy change has happened, but not quite as had been expected. Generous tax breaks for the cost of building wind farms have been reduced, and new forecasting requirements have been introduced - with wind-farm operators incurring charges for inaccurate forecasts. These changes have been in place since the early part of this year.

In the period largely unaffected by the changes, growth continued at a pace. As our map of cumulative capacity on page 9 shows, new project installations from April 2011 to April 2012 were greater than the previous year by 500MW capacity, so by April this year India's electricity supply was supported by 17GW of wind energy. Now, post-policy change, current forecasts for growth across India remain high, with latest estimates for total wind installations having reached 18GW by September, according to both the Global Wind Energy Council and the World Institute of Sustainable Energy.

These new policies, says Felicity Jones of consultancy GL Garrad Hassan, could actually help to create a more mature wind industry in India (see page 4). It will encourage developers and project owners to focus on maximising performance, and to adopt more sophisticated forecasting techniques than have historically been used in India.

If investors and developers can see this potential, India may be able to retain its current ranking as the third most active installer of new capacity.

But this still leaves the issue of how to pay for upgrading the grid network, a story that is far from being exclusive to India.

Jacki Buist is editor of Windpower Monthly.

Click here to see a map showing India's added and cumulative capacity, plus tariffs by state

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