India 'must return' to generation-based incentive

INDIA: India's government must reinstate the generation-based incentive (GBI) for electricity production or risk the continued growth of its wind capacity, according to the country's wind industry trade body.

Wind’s profile has grown in India as the country struggles to meet a growing need for dependable electricity amid power supply issues.

Pressure from the industry appears to be taking effect, with central government expected to announce soon that the GBI, in effect from 2009 but discontinued in March, will return.

Ramesh Kymal, chairman of the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA), said:  "Power shortage and energy security is becoming the talk of the day with a huge gap in demand [and] supply."
Kymal's comments came a day before the three-day Wind Power India 2012 conference was to begin in Chennai, a main hub of the Indian wind sector.

The GBI had paid INR 0.5/kWh ($0.009/kWh) for power produced from wind, with an overall cap on payments.

Many investors appear to have shunned the GBI over concerns that their wind projects would not produce sufficient kilowatts-hours to turn a profit.

Proponents, though, hail the incentive as an improvement on earlier tax incentives rewarding owners of wind farms whether or not they produce much power. They argue that reviving the GBI will cultivate a mature wind sector not reliant on subsidies.

Kymal, who is also managing director of Spanish manufacturer Gamesa’s Indian unit, recently led an IWTMA delegation to New Delhi to encourage the central government to call for the re-introduction of the GBI.  

Turbine technology aimed at extracting maximum energy from low winds is key to the GBI gaining acceptance. According to a report by Windpower Monthly's sister market analysis unit Windpower Intelligence (WPI), wind-turbine suppliers are migrating away from technologies optimised for medium-wind regimes — usually Class II — to low-wind regimes of Class III.

This is due to the arrival in the Indian market of independent power producers keen to step up the quality of wind farms through improved wind resource measurement and turbines designed for slow wind.

Low-wind turbines by Indian manufacturers Suzlon and ReGen Powertech, as well as from Gamesa, are considered popular choices by independent power producers, according to the WPI report.

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